4 REASONS TO LOVE LIKE A CATHOLIC

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Saturday of the 16th WEEK in Ordinary Time | Year A | Cycle I

First Reading: 1 John 4:7-16.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34:2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9,10-11.
 
Gospel Reading: John 11:19-27.

The Introduction

The first reading of today goes at great length to discuss the importance of love. There are at least four reasons to love. Love is the center of Christianity, the reason for our existence, and the source of our Salvation. Above all, it is the defining trait of a Christian.

Love as the Center of Christianity

In every part of our lives, love must show itself. If it doesn’t, we cannot call ourselves Christians. And these are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself. He said:
 
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
– John 13:34-35.
God wants us to begin a new way of living, and that is the way of love. Every action you take, every word, every thought, everything should proceed from love. Anything short of that is not Christian living.

Reason for our existence

Man has sinned against God countless times. God could have destroyed the whole world many times and created a new species afresh. But his love us led him to remain with us.
 
Rather than destroy us, he kept finding ways to draw us to himself. God has performed miracles, sent Angels, risen prophets, and even sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that we may be saved. We owe our very existence and love to the benevolence and love of God.
 
Without that love, mankind would not have existed long enough to have you born. And being born is the best opportunity you have received. It gives you a chance to make it to heaven, where,
 
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love. – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Source of salvation

The bible makes it clear how our salvation came about. This is a very popular verse, because it somewhat summarizes Christianity:
 
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16.
The thing about this part of the bible is that very few people take their time to actually read the next two verses.
 
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
– John 3:17-18.
The love of God is not forced on anyone. He loves us either way, but how we respond to this love of God determines our outcome.

Defining trait of a Christian

We have all heard the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have done to you (Luke 6:31; Matthew 7:12). Most people don’t understand this rule. It means, what would I want someone to do for me, rather than ask for it, let me do it for someone else.
 
For instance, if I see someone doing the dishes, I should picture myself in that situation and ask: If I was doing the dishes right now, would I want someone to come and help me? If your answer is yes, then go and help the person. To master this skill, it takes a great deal of self-honesty. Most people lie to themselves just to satisfy their conscience when they don’t love others properly.
 
Using the same dish washing example, one might say, “No. I wouldn’t want help. There are just 15 dishes. I’ve washed 23 all by myself before and I didn’t die. He can handle it. He’ll be fine. In fact, I’m teaching him discipline and perseverance. If I lacked discipline in washing just 15 dishes, I would want someone to let me wash them and get discipline.” After that conversation, everything will make sense in your head why you shouldn’t help out. That is not love. That is self-deceit.

The mark of a Christian

We are known as Jesus’ disciples only if we love like he loved. When Jesus came into the world, the people he came to love KILLED HIM in the most gruesome way possible at that time. Yet he gave himself up all the same. Sometimes, the people you love and try to help will not appreciate it, love anyway. This is the way of Christ. For it is written:
 
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
– 1 John 4:20.
God weighs our love for him when we love our brothers and sisters. And, no, homosexuality and abortion don’t show love. Homosexuality is not love of another person of the same sex. Abortion is not love of your own body. These are depraved acts condemned by God.

Conclusion

To respond to our call to love, we must first believe that the one who calls us to love is able to keep his promises. The question, therefore, is not if we are willing to love like Jesus. It is this: Do you believe that Jesus is worth your love or do you just profess a lie?
 
Jesus, in the Gospel today, asks us a very important question, in the same way he asked Martha.
 
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
– John 11:25-26
If you believe in Jesus this way, then love your neighbour as Christ has loved you.
 

Prayer:

God our Father, teach us to love one another, not according to the way they have treated us, but according to your love for the world. Help us to love unconditionally, even when there is not sign of a reward here on earth. Teach us selflessness and self-sacrifice. Let us recognize in ourselves, the tendency to be greedy and self-centered, and remove this trait from us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
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See you tomorrow.

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