Homilette for Friday, August 22, 2008

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Matthew 22:34-40)

About ten years ago a Jesuit theologian wrote of a disturbing trend. He said that people today no longer talk about love of God. Rather they talk about love of neighbor and love of self as if these were contemporary ways to love God. The theologian did not approve of the trend and assured his readers that love of God is not only possible but necessary.

For Jesus to love God with all our heart means to have God as our first and foremost desire. It is to say with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, “As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” To love God with all our soul is to desire everlasting life in His company. Although this may seem self-seeking, it is not selfishness. It is only taking delight in the beloved. A poem repeated every night on an old radio program put it well: “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.”

Jesus wants us also to love God with all our mind. This requires that we read about, think about, and talk about God with others. Many people spend most of their free time watching television. Loving God may mean for them turning off the TV to reflect on God’s goodness. Helping others is a practical way to demonstrate our love for God. Although St. Paul writes that it is possible to give away everything and still lack love, most of us send contributions for emergency relief to people we do not know because God wills it. Those who love God generally respond quickly and effectively to the needs of other humans.