Reflection for September 2020

Community Word: Opening our heart to God fulfills His commandment of love.

Order: “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” (Rom 13:8a)

The supreme law is the commandment of love: Love God and neighbor as you love oneself. Jesus explicitly tells us: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” (Jn 13:34). As disciples of Christ, our primordial responsibility is to be witnesses to God’s kind of love. Like Christ, we must be obedient servants following the will of God as we radiate His love to others. When we fulfil the commandment of love, we become members of God’s family. The Father’s love allows us to give the very best of ourselves, just as Jesus did for us. His love empowers us to be holy and assures us of the anointing of His sanctifying grace from the Holy Spirit.

Pope Benedict XVI in one of his Sunday Angelus prayer asked Christians to proclaim God’s love with “boldness, humility and coherence” like Jesus. He said,“Let us ask the Lord to give each of us a spirit of courage and wisdom, so that in our words and actions, we may proclaim the saving truth of God’s love.”

How do we fulfil God’s commandment of love? Let us be guided by the themes for September based on the Sunday readings.

The theme for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time is: We fulfill God’s commandment of love when we lead others to be reconciled with one another.In Matthew 18:15-18, Jesus lays down the process of fraternal correction. However, before proceeding to correct others for their mistakes, we should first look at ourselves. Sometimes, we see the real issue and start to realize that we may also have hurt others or judged them. It will be easier to deal with the mistakes of others by first accepting and correcting our own wrongdoing.We cannot lead others to reconciliation if we ourselves have unsettled differences with another person. But when we have accepted that we too need correction and we get to rectify the situation, it is no longer about us but God’s love in us that will be manifested and enable us to speak the truth. For this is Jesus’ promise: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20).

For the 24thSunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is: We fulfill God’s commandment of love when we have a forgiving heart. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus teaches us the lesson about forgiveness – we should be ready to forgive because we too have been forgiven. Jesus fulfilled God’s commandment of unconditional love when, while dying on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who wronged him. Christ died for our sins and we have been cleansed and restored. Jesus is the best example of genuine forgiveness, and as Christians, we should be ready to do the same, forgiving those who have offended us. When we do, we will be blessed by God’s promise: “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.”(Sir 28:2).

The theme for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time is: We fulfill God’s commandment of love when we are generous with our resources.The greatest act of generosity is God’s gift to mankind, Jesus Christ, who willingly died for our sins because of His unconditional love for us(cf. Jn 3:16). No one is ever late for God’s generosity, for His love and mercy is boundless. As Christians, we can respond to God’s kindness by being generous in sharing our time, talent and treasure without counting the cost. The very essence of sharing is generosity from the heart. Therefore, we cannot expect more blessing simply because we gave more. Neither is anyone too poor as not to be able to share at all. God owes us nothing, while we owe everything to God. So, when we do not withhold our generosity towards others, we are assured of this promise: “The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.” (Ps 145:18).

Finally, for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is: We fulfill God’s commandment of love when we are obedient to His will. The obedience of Jesus Christ even to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2:8) was the fulfilment of God’s plan, born out of love. Mankind was redeemed because Jesussubmitted to His Father’s will when he accepted his mission, “yet not My will, but Yours be done,”(Lk 22:42).The final hurdle in fulfilling God’s commands is following them, and we will be truly blessed. Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it,”(Lk 11:28). Jesus exhorts us to actively obey His commandments to deepen our relationship with Him. “If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love,” (Jn 15:10). To love God is to follow the path of righteousness. Thus, we are assured by this promise: “If he turns from the wickedness he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.” (Ez 25:27).

Father God, thank You for Your love and kindness. Thank You for Your forgiveness and the gift of new life in You. Thank you that Your perfect love never fails and that nothing can separate us from Your love. We pray that our lives will be overflowing with the power of Your love so that we can make a difference in this world and bring You honor. Lord, we open our hearts today to declare that we will follow your commands; to love You above all things and to love our neighbor as You love us. Amen.


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