Grace to you!
We continue our spiritual reflection based on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
For the past couple of days, we’ve learned from Saint Paul the implications of being justified in Christ. Baptized, we belong to Christ. We become members of His Body. Christ gives us numerous gifts so we can serve the Church and community. We make the world a better place to live in so we can mirror the heavenly call.
In Roman 13:8-10, St. Paul tells us the apex of the call, the expectation of our Christian life. He calls it a debt we owe to anyone—love. He discussed this in the context of our duty to civil authorities, including the duty to obey legitimate government authority in matters relating to the state. Arguments as to the conditions and limits of our duty to the state aren’t my concern here. I’m interesting in the duty of love.
Saint Paul sees the vocation to love as a serious responsibility. My girlfriend, Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, would excitingly say: “I have found my vocation. My vocation is to love.”
Please don't get this mixed up with all the things that float around today in the name of love. It’s not emotional and sensual attractions. Christian love, of which Saint Paul writes, is rooted in the selfless sacrifice modeled after the love God has for us.
I see some of its essential qualities in Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 13:4-8. It is patient, kind, not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way and is not irritable or resentful. Love does not rejoice at wrong. Rather, it rejoices in the right. It bears all things, beliefs and hopes, as well as endures. It is our ticket to heaven because it is the only thing that lasts, far more than faith and hope.
This love does not exploit anyone emotionally, sexually, socially, politically, economically or academically. This debt of love responsibility implies we all belong to one family and should relate to each other kindly. It implies complementarity rather that isolation. Our uniqueness and gifts complement each other, for without my neighbor, life would be boring.
This love inspires us to be the keepers of our brothers and sisters, whether they come from the same place as we do or not, or share our faith tradition or not.
This debt of love is actually the true liberation and joy of the human race. To posses this love is to have a treasure worth more than anything you need on earth. As Scripture says, “Love is the greatest” (1 Cor 13:13).
Lord, increase your love in our hearts. Make us love as you love us. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Week 31 A: Rom 13:8-10; Lk 14:25-33]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.