miércoles, 19 de febrero de 2014

The Rule of Love

6th Sunday in the Ordinary Time
February 16, 2014
Mt 5:17-37

Most of us hope for a future society where there is less injustice, violence, sufferings from calamities than
what we have to deal with in our daily life. It seems to be a very basic human desire. But it needs a lot of communal effort to build that future.

There is a kingdom where people can enjoy a happy life and that was announced more than 2000 years ago. The invitation to enter that Promised Land implies some specific conditions because it is based on the rule of love. Today's Gospel is telling us what Jesus wants us to do in order to fulfill the Law in new manner. He goes beyond what we can obtain from reading the Torah. The laws of Moses seem to tie us by many restrictions and observations, which more often than not discourages and burdens us. At the first glance, Jesus surprises us by saying: "whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven". He actually propounds on the rule of love to tell us about the new "justice".

"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." By what means we can do in not through love? If you "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Mt 22, 37), you will have only seeking God's will as your goal in life and try your very best to accomplish it. God now becomes the sole reason for your existence, the motivation of every actions. As you are fond of God, you will never stop to be with Him and to glorify Him in every thought and deed.

The vertical love will invite and lead us to expand and enlarge the relationship by horizontal love. The rest of today's Gospel tells us how to concretize our love for God in our relationship with our neighbors. Practically speaking, we consolidate that love for God by "loving your neighbor as yourself" (Mt 22, 39). By that, our love becomes more realistic, more fruitful because in loving the other, we come to fulfill the self – our true essence. Our deepest longing and desire can only be understood and fulfilled in the presence of my Creator and my neighbors. In loving God and others, we are actually expressing our truest self just as God created each one of us.

Since we love others as we love ourselves, we will not break any of "the least of these commandments". We are now eager to do more than what the laws require for the one I love. We are driven to offer the best gift possible – the gift of self – as we cannot give anything else within our sphere of control. So, those transgressions mentioned in today's Gospel will never exist in my mind. How can we do anything harmful to ourselves? That self in its most authentic incarnation can only be offered to and for God and others.

Whatever might make the gift less than what is true, good and beautiful in us, we should be ready to remove and cast off, even if it would mean being blind or powerless in the eyes of the world (by “plucking out” the eyes or “chopping off” the hand that causes one to sin – which should only be taken in its figurative sense). A Vietnamese proverb elucidates the challenge that Jesus poses to all: “Losing your eye will make you poorer, losing your hand will bring more hardships to your life”. The invitation of the kingdom is very radical. Sacrifice is necessary to check whether our love is genuine or not. Difficulties may daunt us but with love we overcome everything like "gold tested in fire".

- Sem. Martin Nguyen


Lord, strengthen our faith in You and enhance the love You have sown in our hearts so that we can practice what You teach us in order to enter Your Kingdom. May your unconditional love inspires us to love You and our neighbor till the point that we dare to imitate you to sacrifice what is dearest to us: our career, our family, our beloved friends, our mind, and our will. Amen.

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