Homily 31st Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – Work At Love

Homily (Sermon) - Work At Love

The Readings for Sunday 4th November 2012  or Thirty First Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B:
Deuteronomy 6:2-6
Psalm 17:2-4, 47, 51
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 12:28-34
[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

I few months ago I finished a homily by telling you all that I loved you, and a lovely thing happened afterwards. As I stood with Father at the door of the church, a large number of you said, “I love you too” as you left. I hadn't expected that, it was lovely and proved that not all of you slept through my preaching.
Mark’s gospel reading today builds on that teaching of love, it links the law of Moses to the teaching of Christ. Jesus started by repeating the command God gave Moses that we heard in our first reading. ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” He then goes on “The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’
So today’s message is the simple message at the heart of our faith, the command to love. You are commanded to love God and love everyone.

It might seem strange when you think about being commanded to love. Our society paints a picture of love and romance. Of falling in love. Of love being uncontrollable. You only need to listen to some of our music and literature to think that love is only something you only fall into.
“Love is a many splendored thing.” ~ The Four Aces
“Love lift’s us up where we belong.” ~ Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker
“The power of love is a curious thing Make a one man weep, make another man sing” ~ Huey Lewis
“This bud of love by summer’s ripening breath, May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.” – Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliette
But love is so much more than romance. Love is the bond between friends, love is what drives us to care, to help, to serve. Sometimes love is easy, automatic, we are compelled by love. The love of a parent and child, the love of a husband and wife. Sometime’s though love is more difficult because the compulsion, the feeling, the automatic response isn't there. But today’s command is to love regardless.

I want to tell you a couple of stories, two extremes. The first I hope you will never have to face anything similar. The second in some form I think we all face every day.

During World War II a Dutch family helped Jewish people fleeing the death camps. The family was eventually caught, the father in his eighties died quickly in prison. The two daughters both in their 50’s ended up in a concentration camp, one lived and the other died. But before she died she was told by God that her sister would survive and after the war would help the German concentration camp guards to know love and forgiveness again. That’s exactly what happened, Corrie ten Boom, the surviving sister built a home and hospital in the grounds of an old concentration camp. She taught love and forgiveness, and with God’s help and grace she even forgave one of the guards who had tortured her and the sister.

My second story is about Mother Teresa, she went to prayers every day, and every day was distracted by a nun sitting a few rows behind her who clicked her rosary beads. She started getting annoyed by this unseen nun, wishing she could just pray quietly and not impose on her silent prayer with that constant clicking. Then she realised she was not loving that other nun, so she started to pray for that nun every time she heard the clicking. Soon she would listen out for the comfort of the clicking, knowing that the nun was well. One day when she couldn't hear the clicking she worried that the nun may be ill, and prayed that she and the clicking would return.

This is the love Christ is talking of, not easy love, but love to be worked at. It’s difficult to love the stranger, it’s harder still to love someone who offends or harms us. But that is what Christ does, he loves us all. That’s is what the Father does, he loves us all so much he sent his Son to know us and to die for us.

If we are to follow today’s teaching we need to work at Love. We need to pray for the gift to love those we don’t know, and those we dislike.

To paraphrase Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we need to be patient, kind, never jealous, boastful, conceited, rude or selfish. We must not take offence or resent others. We must delight in truth and always be ready to trust, to hope and to endure.

Today you have been commanded, go out and work at love. Go and Love your God, Go and Love everyone. And know that you are loved, your God loves you, and so do I.

Homily Index

No comments:

Post a Comment