Year A: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: Romans 13: 8-10
The Reading from St Paul’s letter echoes the themes explored in the Gospel and First Reading - but emphasises that what underpins all our relationships as Christians is love.
Love lies at the heart of all the Law and commandments of God. If we love someone, we will not commit adultery against them - or with them. If we love someone, we will not steal - and definitely will not kill them!
Where we know and love people, this is probably easier than in situations where we don’t. Where there are ties of family and friendship, people have a stronger call on our love than where we are dealing with strangers or people we are never likely to meet.
Our families and friends give us a formation in love.
We learn how to love - and how to meet the costs of love. We learn that loving - giving and receiving - leaves both sides better than it found them.
As we mature, we become more able to apply that to others who do not have the same calls on us as our family and friends. We go beyond “giving to charity” to being charitable and loving people. Our love may cause us to put our hands in our pockets - but it may also cause us to stand up for people who are oppressed or poor.
Our understanding of love grows beyond the confines of our close relationships and we begin to see the people of the world as our brothers and sisters.
This can lead us to look at the role of politics and economics differently. We no longer see the world as “us” and “them” - but as one world where all humanity - indeed, all creation, is inter-dependent. We see that what hurts someone in a distant country is as wrong as if it happened to ourselves. This can be a difficult time- as we become aware of the pain of the world and feel inadequate in the face of it.
We cannot change the world by ourselves - but we can change our bit of it. If it is enough for evil to prosper that the good person does nothing - how much more can he or she accomplish if they devote their lives to doing something - acting as a channel of love into the world.
What does it mean for me?
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