Love gratuitously

Now is the time
to recognize the violence of the post-Christian culture,
to repent, and return to the Lord

In our gospel reading today Jesus reveals the root of killing: anger in our hearts. The letter of the law says “you shall not kill,” but the spirit of the law, revealed by Jesus, is not to kill anyone in our hearts. If we stop killing our neighbors in our hearts, we will never progress to the level of the gunman who, yesterday, went on a shooting rampage at a charity baseball game practice, all because he hated Republicans.

At least one congressional representative called out the media for its role in fostering hate. And while I agree that the media is complicit, we have to take responsibility for ourselves. We can turn off the TV. We can send the media a message that we don’t want their hate in our minds and hearts. We can open our Bible and read about God’s love for all of us. We can kneel and pray. We can humble ourselves to the point of silence and service.

[Or you can go to Shakespeare in the Park (NYC), which continues to promote violence with its rendition of Julius Caesar.]

In the quote of the day, Pope Francis offers us hope: the hope of God’s love for us and for all people. We can choose to dwell on God’s love for all of us or on the hatred in our hearts, that leads to death. And as the epistle says, we are called to gaze on the Lord, allow him to transform our hardened hearts, and live in freedom when God’s Spirit dwells in us. That freedom is the freedom to love others as God has loved us — in our sin, patiently trusting that God is at work in us and in others and in the world.

While we were yet sinners, God sent his only begotten son. Jesus, through his life, passion and death, and resurrection, has reconciled us to the Father. Seek the narrow way. Extend grace and mercy.

Scriptures of the Day

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 3:15—4:1, 3:6

Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us,
we are not discouraged.
And even though our Gospel is veiled,
it is veiled for those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this age
has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,
so that they may not see the light of the Gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God
on the face of Jesus Christ.

Psalm: 85;9ab&10, 11–12, 13–14

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

Gospel: Matthew 5:20–26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother,
Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Quote of the Day
Pope Francis’ catechesis at general audience, June 14, 2017

None of us can live without love. And an awful slavery into which we can fall is to believe that love is merited. Perhaps a good part of contemporary man’s anguish stems from this: to believe that if we are not strong, attractive and beautiful, then no one will be concerned with us. So many people today seek visibility only to fill an interior void: as if we were persons eternally in need of confirmation. However, can you imagine a world where all beg motives to awaken others’ attention, and no one is willing, instead, to freely love another person? Imagine such a world: a world without the gratuitousness of loving! It seems a human world but, in reality, it is a hell. So many narcissisms of man are born from a sentiment of solitude and orphanhood. Behind so much apparently inexplicable behavior there lies the question: is it possible that I do not deserve to be called by name, namely, to be loved? Because love always calls by name . . .

When an adolescent is not or does not feel loved, then violence can be born. Behind so many forms of social hatred and of hooliganism there is often a heart that has not been recognized. Evil children do not exist, as there are not altogether evil adolescents, but unhappy persons do exist. And what can render us happy if not the experience of love given and received? A human being’s life is an exchange of looks: someone who looking at us wrings from us the first smile, and we who freely smile at one who is closed in sadness, and thus we open to him a way out. Exchange of looks: look in the eyes and the doors of the heart open.

The first step that God took towards us was that of an anticipating and unconditional love. God loved us first. God does not love us because there is in us some reason that elicits love. God loves us because He Himself is love, and by its nature love tends to diffuse itself, to give itself. God does not even link His benevolence to our conversion: if anything this is a consequence of God’s love. Saint Paul says it perfectly: “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans5:8)– While we were yet sinners– an unconditional love We were “distant,” as the Prodigal Son of the parable: “While he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion . . .” (Luke 15:20). Out of love for us God undertook an exodus from Himself, to come to find us in this land where it was senseless that He should walk. God loved us also when we were mistaken.

Who of us loves in this way if not one who is father or mother? A mother continues to love her son even when this son is in prison. I remember so many mothers, who were in a queue to enter a prison, in my previous diocese. And they were not ashamed. The son was in prison, but it was their son And they suffered so many humiliations in the searches before entering, but: “It is my son!” “But lady, your son is a delinquent!” “He is my son!” Only this love of mother and of father makes us understand how God’s love is. A mother does not ask for the cancellation of human justice, because every error calls for a redemption, but a mother never stops suffering for her son. She loves him even when he is a sinner. God does the same thing with us: we are His beloved children! But could it be that God has some children that he does not love? No, we are all loved by God. There is no curse on our life, but only a benevolent word of God, who drew our existence out of nothing. The truth of it all is that relation of love that binds the Father with the Son through the Holy Spirit, is a relationship in which we are received by grace. In Him, in Christ Jesus, we were willed, loved desired. There is Someone who has imprinted in us a primordial beauty, which no sin, no mistaken choice will ever be able to cancel altogether. Before God’s eyes, we are always little springs made to gush good water. Jesus said it to the Samaritan woman: “the water that I shall give [you] will become in [you] a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

What is the medicine to change the heart of an unhappy person? What is the medicine to change the heart of a person that is not happy? [They answer: love] Louder! [They shout: love!] Good! Good, all good! And how does one make a person feel that he is loved? It is necessary first of all to embrace him. To make him feel wanted, that he is important, and he will stop being sad. Love calls love, in a stronger way than hatred calls death. Jesus did not die and rise for Himself, but for us, so that our sins would be forgiven. Hence, it is the time of resurrection for all: time to raise the poor from discouragement, especially those lying in a sepulcher for a much longer time than three days. Blowing here, on our faces, is a wind of liberation. Germinating here is the gift of hope. And the hope is that of God the Father who loves us as we are: He loves us all and always. Thank you!

— Pope Francis

Prayer

Through the resurrection of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we become sharers in God’s own life of love.  May all of us find in God’s embrace the promise of new life and freedom.  For in his love is the source of all our hope.

Questions of the Day

  • Do we harbor hatred in our hearts for anyone?
  • Do you love freely and without discrimination?
  • Must others merit your love?
  • What makes you angry? What do you do with your anger? Have you ever allowed your anger to stew into hatred?
  • To what are you listening? To whom and what do you give ear? How are they shaping the thoughts in your mind and the movements of your heart? And what actions result?
  • Are you gazing on the Lord? Are others witnessing the work of God transforming you from glory to glory?

Related

Trinity in Unity, One God

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Today the Church celebrates God as God. We reflect on the mystery of the One God who is three distinct persons: God the Father, Creator; God the Son, Redeemer; and God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Exodus 34:4b, 6, 8–9

Early in the morning Moses went up Mount Sinai
as the LORD had commanded him,
taking along the two stone tablets.

Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there
and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
“The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord,
do come along in our company.
This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins,
and receive us as your own.”

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 13:11–13

Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Gospel: John 3:16–18

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Mini Homily: Called to authentic love

Catechism of the Catholic Church
God is Love

218 In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love. And thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins.

219 God’s love for Israel is compared to a father’s love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother’s for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

220 God’s love is “everlasting”: “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

221 But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”: God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.

Prayer of Consecration to the Holy Trinity

O everlasting and Triune God,
I consecrate myself wholly to You today.
Let all my days offer You ceaseless praise,
my hands move to the rhythm of Your impulses,
my feet be swift in Your service,
my voice sing constantly of You,
my lips proclaim Your message,
my eyes perceive You everywhere,
and my ears be attuned to Your inspirations.
May my intellect be filled with Your wisdom,
my will be moved by Your beauty,
my heart be enraptured with Your love,
and my soul be flooded with Your grace.
Grant that every action of mine be done
for Your greater glory
and the advancement of my salvation.

#752, New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book

The Love of the Lord

Feast of Saint Faustina
God’s Secretary and Apostle of Divine Mercy

Everlasting love, pure flame, burn in my heart ceaselessly and deify my whole being, according to Your infinite pleasure by which You summoned me into existence and called me to take part in Your everlasting happiness.

O merciful Lord, it is only out of mercy that You have lavished these gifts upon me. Seeing all these free gifts within me, with deep humility I worship Your incomprehensible goodness.

Lord, my heart is filled with amazement that You, absolute Lord, in need of no one, would nevertheless stoop so low out of pure love for us.

I can never help being amazed that the Lord would have such an intimate relationship with his creatures. That again is His unfathomable goodness. Every time I begin this meditation, I never finish it, because my spirit becomes entirely drowned in Him.

What a delight it is to love with all the force of one’s soul and to be loved even more in return, to feel and experience this with the full consciousness of one’s being.

There are no words to express this.

Diary of Saint Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul # 1523

Poor and Lowly, Forever Blessed

Quotes and Hymns in honor of the
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The world being unworthy to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her.
— Saint Augustine

Ave Maris Stella

Mary must be known and openly revealed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may be known and loved through her. — Saint Louis de Montfort

Sing of Mary

I declare with the saints: Mary is the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ the new Adam, where he became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish in her wonders beyond our understanding. She is the vast and divine world of God where unutterable marvels and beauties are to be found. She is the magnificence of the Almighty where he hid his only Son, as in his own bosom, and with him everything that is most excellent and precious. What great and hidden things the all-powerful God has done for this wonderful creature, as she herself had to confess in spite of her great humility, “The Almighty has done great things for me.” The world does not know these things because it is incapable and unworthy of knowing them.
— Saint Louis de Montfort

After the love which we owe Jesus Christ, we must give the chief place in our heart to the love of His Mother Mary.
— Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri

Unburden your soul, for I love you

Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

In 1993, four years before her death, Mother Saint Teresa wrote a letter to her Missionaries of Charity (MC). In this letter she expressed concern that some of her sisters and brothers might not be aware of the deep personal love Jesus has for each one of them. Mother Teresa chose to write from Jesus’ point of view, which allows Jesus to tell the MC sisters, brothers, and fathers directly of his love for them — and now, too, we can hear Jesus speaking directly to us. The letter offers a meditation on the words Jesus spoke from the cross: “I thirst” (John 19:28).

I Thirst for You.

Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you.
I THIRST FOR YOU.

I thirst to love you and to be loved by you — that is how precious you are to Me.
I THIRST FOR YOU.

Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials I THIRST FOR YOU.

You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you.
I THIRST FOR YOU.

If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you.
I THIRST FOR YOU.

Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.

Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment? Trust in Me. Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life. — and I will.

I promise you before My Father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would I do this? Because I THIRST FOR YOU.

All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely. I will do all the rest.

Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My Kingdom.

Remember that you are a pilgrim in this life, on a journey home. Sin can never satisfy you, or bring the peace you seek. All that you have sought outside of Me has only left you more empty, so do not cling to the things of this life. Above all, do not run from Me when you fall. Come to Me without delay. When you give Me your sins, you gave Me the joy of being your Savior. There is nothing I cannot forgive and heal; so come now, and unburden your soul.

Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Will you open the door?