Friday, April 1, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, April 1, 2011 (Friday of the Third Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Friday, April 1, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

Well, this is certainly a great day to get together because the Gospel is core to who we are, what we're about, and where we're going.

A scribe came up to ask Jesus, "Tell us what is the greatest of all the Commandments." And Jesus revealed that love of God, neighbor, and self is the core. Love is a triangle. Love is a three-sided affair, if you will. Now, novels and movies are made up of three-way love affairs, but you and I are experienced in that and you and I are called to that.

And the first love that we are called to is love of ourselves. Now, I'm not talking about an egotistical, self-centered kind of love, but you will take you wherever you go. You can walk out of class and go out into the playground. You can walk out of school and go home. You can walk out of your home and go into your neighborhood. You can take a trip across the world, but you will go with you. And unless you like you you'll never be happy, and you'll never be able to give yourself in love to another person because you can't give what you don't have. So unless we love ourselves the way God loves us, then we can never experience love for another.

So, the first love, Jesus says, is to love ourselves, and then to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And that's a challenge, because sometimes it's not easy to love those around us who are our neighbors. Sometimes it's very, very challenging, and they find it challenging to love us, too. This is where the rubber meets the road, where we have to be challenged to be grow out of ourselves, to become people who are able to love another. Husbands and wives have to do it. They have to listen to opinions that are not their own. Priests have do it with their parishioners. And most of the parishioners are very easy to love, but sometimes not so easy. And they find it difficult to love priests sometimes, too. But we're in this thing together. God has put us on this planet to learn how to live together, and if we don't learn how to live together, we're going to blow it up. There's all kinds of evidence going on right now that says people need to learn to love each other.

And then finally, and ultimately, you and I are called to love God. And one of the reasons that we're here right now is that we're expressing our love for God. We're worshipping God, and we are being grateful to God for what he has done in our lives. But the way we love God is by reflecting the kind of love that God has, and God's love is to love all — even those who are difficult to love. There are kinds of ways to love people, but how does one express one's love for God. And the only real way that I'm able to do that is by loving those whom he loves, and that includes the people we know or will ever meet.

Every act that you do today that is kind, that is merciful, that is gentle, is your expression of loving God. Every time you are patient with somebody who is difficult to like, is your expression of loving God. So true love is a triangle; it has three sides. It involves yourself, your neighbor, and our God.

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