“Where there is Love, there is God ”
(Fr Regie, MSP)
Where there is love, there is God,” is Mother Teresa’s simple statement that captures the whole of her life’s testimony about the grandeur of God’s gift of love to everyone. She is fully convinced that God uses human instruments to advance his providential plan, to manifest his love in today’s world. She believes, like Saint Therese of Lisieux, that our true vocation is to love. She has lived it as a Missionary of Charity and tried her best to share and make others aware of this fundamental call to love God and others. Her extraordinary work for the poorest of the poor is just a fruit of her love of God, of her love for Jesus. For her, “Jesus is enough,” “Jesus is all in all,” “Jesus is my all.” This conviction defines her whole life in loving even her worst critic. Her faith in God is constant that even when she experienced desolation and spiritual aridity she remained committed to her mission.
Indeed, love is the true orientation of the human heart. This is what our readings for this Sunday point to us. They help us direct our thoughts and actions to the true essence of love. The first reading from Exodus (22:20-26) gives special attention to the weak and the vulnerable of the society where we can express our true concern for our neighbours. In the Scriptures, the widows, the orphans, the poor, “God’s anawim” got special attention from Him. They are the ones who do not have anyone to rely and depend on but God. The Jews were reminded to love their neighbours, not just the closest relative or those that belong to the inner circle. They have to see themselves in them. The foreigners and strangers are also their neighbours, “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.” They also have to see themselves in the orphans, the widows and the poor. In a way the Golden Rule of Jesus summarizes this call to love others: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12).
There is another dimension of love Saint Paul demonstrates in the second reading (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10). It is the love motivated by faith in God. The Thessalonians were living the law of Love and it was their faith expressed in love that inspired other believers too. During this time of Paul’s writing they exhibited behaviours worthy of praise by their love for another and turning away from idols to serve “the living and the true God and to await from heaven the Son he raised from the dead Jesus.” Another important aspect of loving aside from acts of mercy is also spiritual care. This what St Paul did in his missionary journey. To lead people to God is also an act of love. He loved God by his willingness to undergo suffering for the sake of the good news.
In the Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40) Jesus summarizes the whole teachings of the law and the prophets. The Jews have innumerable laws, prescriptions of actions they have restricted themselves of doing, at times losing the true spirit of the law. The question was again an attempt to trap Jesus by a Pharisee- lawyer who was not practicing love of neighbour but played a game with Jesus thinking he could expose him as a fraud who did not really know the Torah. Instead of embarrassing Jesus, he used it as an opportunity to teach them what must lie behind all what they were asked to do or not to do. He told them that the whole Law can be summed up in Love. Jesus knows what are all these commandments all about. They are not just prohibitions but they are God’s way of orienting the heart towards the real goal.
How do we find the real direction that our hearts are looking for? We may have met some people whose lives are transformed as they seek to love God and others. In Calcutta, India, thousands of volunteers young and old have shared testimonies of the miracles that love has brought in their lives as they open their hearts to the grace of God by touching Jesus in the broken bodies of the poorest of the poor. Love goes beyond romanticism that often set aside God, for indeed, it is true, “Where there is Love, there is God.”