Love is Caring for ALL
A Reflection for the 23rd. Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/Franciscans of Divine Mercy
“Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbor as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbor; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments”. (Romans 13:8 – 10)
There are two passages from the Readings for this Sunday that should guide us in how, we who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, should be judging people and making our choices about who we associate with, not only to those we meet and encounter each and every day of our life, but those who we elect into government positions where they will have the power and opportunity to make necessary changes that would help those who most need help.
In Romans 13:8-10 Paul exhorts us to refrain from getting into debt which most of us are unable to live by because of the exorbitant cost of everyday needs which can be directly connected to a couple of factors that our governing leaders could control. One reason is the trillions of dollars spent in fighting a war against a country that did not attack us instead of putting our military might seeking the people responsible who did.
This war has drained our economy and the social programs that could help the poor, disabled and aged to maintain a constant quality of live they experienced ten years ago, provide quality affordable health care for all our citizens from birth to death. Guaranteed affordable quality education to every child and guaranteed College education to those who desired it. I learned this week that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is failing to live up to a law that gives adopted children tuition support at State Colleges and Universities because the funds are not there which is an example of how the priorities of government do not live up to what we as Christians have been called to live our lives.
Over 4500 families who have lost sons, daughters, Mothers and Fathers waging this war and the resulting damage has been tremendous financial strain for years to come to all of them.
Those who returned physically or mentally disabled have received minimal assistance especially those suffering from PTSD from the trauma of the war and the horrors they experienced.
Another causality of the deficit has been educational support to our returning veterans.
Another causality of our fiscal difficulties is the resulting debt every family, except those whose income is over $250,000 a year, are the higher than necessary prices charged for everyday necessities like Gas for transportation, fuel to heat homes and run factories that create the goods we need.
In spite of the difficulties so many have to live with the major corporations continue to report exorbitant profits and they have paid millions as bonuses and Golden Parachutes to CEO’s and other executives.
The failure of our Government leaders has resulted in high unemployment because of jobs are going to countries that pay lower wages just so the corporations can achieve higher profits at the expense of the workers in this country.
This is not showing love for our fellow citizens because these actions have caused pain and suffering to so many citizens and caused many to live in abject poverty.
The current fiscal crisis is also affecting all religious and private nonprofits that attempt to help the poor, elderly and those with disabilities because donations that support those programs have all but dried up.
This ministry is over $4500 in debt because our donations do not cover the average monthly expenses of $386. a month.
To continue to attempt to spread the word of God's infinite mercy and love and to serve those in nursing homes, hospices and the elderly and low income shut-ins I have for more than 7 years obtained what was needed by charging things on my person credit cards and now the strain to meet the monthly payments is causing me to reconsider the future direction of the ministry and how we can best continue.
Christ never turned anyone who came to him away yet some faith communities turn children of God away because of race, marital status or sexual orientation. That is not living as Christ did and taught. Jesus even welcomed those that Jewish laws forbid Jews to mingle with. He lived by extending a welcome and showing love to ALL he encountered and gave them love.
The Gospel for Sunday tells us that “, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven” yet we find ourselves constantly separating ourselves from God’s love because of petty and self-serving desires that have little or nothing to do with Christ’s teachings and way of life.
Just imagine if all who claim to be followers of Christ were to join together with one common goal, to make this world a better place for ALL God’s children and not just the select few how much better every one on earth would be.
If Christ is with us as He tells us in the Gospel “For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.” (Matthew 18:15 – 20) there is now power or force that could overcome us.
The time is NOW for us to gather together as ONE VOICE, ONE CHURCH, ONE BROTHERHOOD IN CHRIST to bring about a time of BROTHERHOOD AND TRUE LOVE that cannot hurt your neighbor. AMEN