Friday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s gospel reminds us that our love for God must flow into love for neighbor; and our love for neighbor must flow back into love for God. In a sense, our love for God must be humanized and our love for neighbor must be divinized. Indeed, the love of God cannot be separated from the love of neighbor. God is truly loved only when human beings are also truly loved. So, let us ask the Lord for the grace to show our love for him by a love of our fellow human beings shown in deeds.
Lewis Austin, in his book This I Believe, writes, “God, our Maker gave us two hands: One to hold onto him, and the other to reach out to his people.” “If our hands are full of struggling to get possessions, we can’t hang onto God or to others very well.” “If, however, we hold onto God, who gave us our lives, then this love can flow through us and out to our neighbor.”
Our love of God, whom we cannot see, can only be manifested in our love of neighbor, whom we see and meet everyday. Our praying to God, whom we address “Our Father in heaven,” should lead us to be with and present to our neighbor who is “down there” in the street of misery and poverty. Our giving praise to God, who is actually in no need of our praise, should lead us to give appreciation and affirmation to our neighbor who is taken for granted, depreciated and even rejected. Our worshiping of God in our liturgical celebrations and prayer meetings should lead us to intervene and act on behalf of our neighbor who is hungry, homeless and deprived of basic necessities. Our reading of the Good News of God or the Bible should lead us to bring the Good News to our neighbor in concrete ways, in practical terms, in visible signs. Our offering to God in this Mass and in our personal devotion to him should lead us to offer ourselves in the service of our neighbor –sharing our time, talent and treasure for their well-being. “Let us love God, brothers and sisters…Let us love God, but let it be by the sweat of our brows and by the strength of our arms.”
By reaching out to love our neighbor as ourselves we will find that the kingdom of God is very near and experience what someone wrote –let us read this together and make it our prayer: I went to the mountains to seek wisdom, but did not find it. I went to the sea to seek peace, but did not find it. I went to the temple to seek God, but did not find him. I went to serve my neighbor, and I found all three.