Dear Brothers and Sisters,
What a challenge we receive in this Sunday’s gospel! Loving God above all things and our neighbor is the core of the Christian life, but how many of us can say this is easy to do? In a polarized culture each of us is pulled in many direction, and we often lose sight of the core principle of charity. Our culture attempts to distract us from our focus on God by enticing us with “things” that will make us “happy”. These distractions are hard to defend if we are not focused on loving and doing the will of the Father. Jesus was tempted to turn away from the Father. Through his commitment to the Father we have an example of true love, which is seen on the cross.
True love is based on sacrifice. Jesus’ expression of love from the cross is a radical expression of love of God and of neighbor. Through his sacrifice he shows us that love can hurt, but charity will always prevail the distractions of this world as he forgives those who persecute him. Great love is shown through forgivingness, and the Father sent his son to demonstrate this love. Through our faithfulness to the will of God, we receive forgiveness and are expected to witness that same forgiveness we receive. Each day we need to acknowledge how we are loved by God by loving our neighbor.
I have experienced this love by the many forms of concern for me and my family during our health struggles. The outpouring of concern and prayers has been comforting. I am on the tail end of phase one of my treatment plan and doing well. Aside from some fatigue, I am tolerating the radiation and oral chemotherapy.
As we hear about the continued spread of COVID, let us continue to be cautious in our daily activities. Though fatigue about wearing masks and social distancing exists, let us realize that each of us play an important role in the fight against this virus. This week I was privileged to celebrate Mass with the 1st grade students of Lakewood Catholic Academy. Seeing those young students wearing their masks through Mass reminded me how important they are in this fight. Though they struggled with sitting still, they wore their masks knowing that their actions help control the spread of this virus. What a great example of sacrifice and love of neighbor!
We are all called to the core principle of our Christian life. Love of God and neighbor is the greatest of all commandments. Let us remember to reach out to the neighbors that are near and far to remind them of how much they are loved.