Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
It has been called ‘the golden rule’ and indeed it is. In one unique combination of ancient wisdom Jesus sums up the entire Law in a prophetic manner and bequeaths to all his followers the key to life.
What God wants from us – far more than ritual or material offerings, is the gift of love. Perhaps this should not surprise us unduly, after all we are made in God’s own image and likeness and God is love. While it is not possible for us to fully describe God, we learn of God’s nature and deepest desires from Jesus words, lived example and witness to us.
In this light we can understand that the essence of God’s life is relationship. This deep reality is embedded in creation itself (witnessed even at a subatomic level where matter becomes particles in relationship to each other) and seen in all life that we know (patterns of relationship in nature and the environment and most clearly in the human person).
We are relational beings, made for communion with one another. In the vision of Jesus this relational circle is widened to incorporate our relationship with God.
To live a life committed to others and to their care, to exercise a nurturing stewardship of the earth, to seek to go beyond ourselves not just in exploration but in sacrificial loving of another – all this is but expression of the innate desire to form union that God has placed within us.
For Jesus to speak of loving with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength is for him to name the spectrum of human capacity and to suggest we orient our entire being towards love of God and others.
In saying this Jesus knows too that God extends love to us in the same way. God’s love for us is likewise a total gift of self to us. God’s love is endless, forgiving, nurturing, sacrificial and conveys joy and grace in abundance.
We are attracted to this love at our deepest levels. While some do not see the source and creator of such love and do not acknowledge God, they nevertheless experience the warmth of God’s love (and thus God’s presence) in the world. This is our task then – to be the conduit of God’s love as it seeps into human environment. When we love our neighbour, we share in the mission of God in our world – a mission revealed by Jesus and continued under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This is the reign of God. Let us not live far from it.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia.