Only Love Works
Monday: Twelfth Week of the Year: June 20, 2016
Year II: 2Kings: 17: 5-18; Psalm 60:3-13; Matthew 7: 1-5
The Responsorial Psalm encourages us to pray with hope even when our own sins have caused our problems: “Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us” (Psalm 60).
2Kings 17: 5-18 shows us what happens when we don’t follow “the manufacturer’s instructions.” God’s People are invaded, defeated, and reduced to slaves. “This happened because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God.” God’s laws are the “operator’s manual” for sharing human life on this planet. To ignore them invites disaster.
The wars, the terrorism, the violence in our streets that we experience are not a punishment from God. But God’s word assures us again and again that they are the natural consequences of our refusal to live as he taught us — both as individuals and as a nation. We suffer the consequences of global poverty and social unrest which themselves are consequences of our failure, both now and in the past, to live authentically as Christians. But God will still help us if we turn to him: “Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.”
In Matthew 7: 1-5 Jesus warns us that we may be looking at the wrong sins. “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” All sin is damaging, but some sins devastate society — and those are the ones we seem least concerned about. At least, they never seem to come up when we confess our sins; certainly not in the Sacrament of Reconciliation! How do we minister as Christians to the poor, the imprisoned? Do we address the causes of poverty? Of war? Are we complacent about just locking people in cages instead of converting the whole prison system to serious rehabilitation? Are we willing accomplices in the official revenge our state takes against those children of God who are judged guilty by fallible juries of killing other children of God? Do we applaud their execution? Does God their Father applaud when we execute his children?
God does not promise that ordinary morality will save the world. But Christian morality can — if like Jesus we dedicate ourselves to ministering to all people with the love of God himself. The truth is, only love works. Jesus died to convince us of this. When we “die to ourselves” to live as Christ and let Christ live in us, the world will be transformed. Do we believe the prayer we were taught to say? “Send forth your Spirit, Lord, and our hearts will be regenerated. And you will renew the face of the earth!” If we “take the log out of our own eye” and live out our Baptism, we will “see clearly” what else needs to be done.
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Minister with love to all people and encourage love in everything.