We are the love of His life!
Recently, via Skype, my four-year-old grandson laughingly said to me, “Granny, you are the love of my life!” Of course, I was bowled over. I was delighted and yet amused to hear him playfully say so.
I know that he’s learning language at this time and he’s playing around with very many words and phrases, but his statement set me thinking, once again, about this thing called LOVE.
What is love? Love obviously means different things to different people and, as I see it today, the world seems to be in love with the word ‘love’. The world loves everything – from the apparent trivial like simple foods, clothes, places and events, to the more intricate or complex as drugs, sex and money, and today many even ‘love’ each other in questionable ways! Are these all wrong concepts of this thing called love? Where does this emotion called love come from?
I once read a sentence that said that compassion was the heartbeat of the Saviour’s ministry, and in the first reading from Exodus, God certainly shows us the compassion of true love. This is a love that would not allow one to be abusive of another in any form or fashion.
God had reminded His people that He had loved them and He had provided for them and had protected them when they were resident in Egypt for over 400 years; they should do the same to others. Love is compassionate.
It is the compassionate nature of love that would allow one to be ever mindful of the dignity of another, never seeking to demean the other to one’s advantage – as the Pharisees were then seeking to do to Jesus through their knowledgeable representative.
But, master tactician that He is, Jesus seizes yet another opportunity to once again teach us all a deep truth on love. When He replies to the lawyer with these two commandments, He uses their own Jewish Shema or confession of faith, Deuteronomy 6: 4–5, to show them that love seeks after another’s welfare, just as one desires the best for oneself.
What has become of agape love and philial love? Why is there so much emphasis on erotic love all around us? In our hypersexualised world, people are made to be objects for the gratification of another’s desires, so that the basic quality of compassion is non-existent.
Our consciences are jaded; our senses are dulled, resulting in the deep meaning of love being lost on us because we are now being overtly conditioned to measure everything and everyone according to the sexual value.
Scripture cautions us, “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever” (1 Jn 2:15–17).
Over the past few weeks we have been exploring the incredible depth of the love of God made manifest in His care, protection and provision for us. Our God is a God of love and “We love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). So it is His love and compassion poured into us that spill out onto others.
What a joy it is to know that we are the love of His life! No matter what we do He loves us, and He asks that we nurture His love and allow it to overflow from us on to others, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another” (1 Jn 4:11).
Yes, we have seen that Jesus’ detractors were focused on the business of upstaging Him, but He was always way ahead of them every time, for He skilfully used their own traps to try to bring them, and us, to a new level of thinking and of acting in our relations with one another.
We cannot say we love if we continually neglect God’s basic teachings as espoused in His Ten Commandments. They may be of olden times but, in this new dispensation, Jesus certainly gives credence to Paul’s words of Roman 13:10, “Love is the fulfilling of the law”. For when we act in accordance with the truth and the light of God’s love, we are actually fulfilling the Law.
In one of his September reflections, Deacon Derek Walcott, in another context, ended with the prayer, “Dear Lord, nothing makes sense without your love. Help us to bear witness to the light of your love.” Today, in this context, I pray the same.
The Gospel reflections for October were by Anne Marie Richardson, a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired educator of the parish of Santa Rosa, Arima.