Reflection for the 30th Sunday of year

My dear Friends

You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself

From our preferences for foods, cloths, and music, to describing our emotions towards the Love of my life, the word ‘love’ is certainly used to cover a wide spectrum of feelings and things! In today’s readings, however, the command to love God, love our neighbour, as we would love ourselves, has its roots in the Jewish Shema, or Declaration of Faith: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them.

Last Sunday, if you remember, I spoke about the ways in which God’s love, compassion, justice and peace have to be engraved, etched, into the very fabric of our being, transforming our hearts into temples, our souls into altars and our minds into priests (Gibran). In a nutshell, even in the quagmire of our own woundedness, brokenness, fragility, and weaknesses, it is striving to allow the boundless, and all-embracing Love of the God, who dwells within us, to radiate, and flow, into our very thoughts, our words, and our actions.

Loving others, as we would ourselves, also involves our own, sometimes painful journeys, towards Self-Worth, Self-Value, and Self-Esteem. If we do not love and value ourselves, it can be quite challenging to mirror a sense of love and value for others!

You have often heard me quote Meister Eckhard: God’s first outburst is always Compassion. I have to say, throughout my life, this has been my personal yardstick for discerning whether or not something has its origins in the ‘heart of God’ or in the fragile human ego!

As we have seen globally, both historically and currently, ‘Passion for God’ can result in the most horrific ideologies causing wars, suffering and death. I am sure we have all heard the expression, Lord, what atrocities have been committed in your name! Sometimes, too, ‘good Christians’ plough into the lives of others and the hurt or woundedness caused is just perceived as ‘collateral damage’.

So, my dear friends, the multiple challenges and bottom line of the Gospel message today…(i) How would I rate my own Self-Worth, Self-Value and Self-Esteem to enable me to foster them in others?; (ii) Is the Love, Compassion, Justice and Forgiveness of God etched into the very fibres of my heart that they may flow into my words and actions?; (iii) In loving God with my whole heart, with my whole soul and with all my mind…and loving my neighbour as myself, do my words and actions build bridges of peace, harmony, reconciliation, joy and healing? We can but try!

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

© 2019• Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton

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