Love Just Doesn't Happen

    One Sunday a pastor of a church preached his sermon on marriage and married life. At the end of the service he was giving out small wooden crosses to each married couple. He said, "Place this cross in the room in which you fight the most and you will be reminded of God's commandment of love and you won't argue as much." One woman came up after the service and said, "You'd better give me five crosses."

      Jesus, in the gospel of this weekend, combines the commandment to love God with the commandment to love one's neighbor and gives the result as the one commandment of supreme importance in Christian life.


    A man attending a crowded Church service refused to take his hat off when asked to do so by the ushers. The preacher was perturbed too, and after the service told the man that the Church was quite happy to have him as guest, and invited him to join the Church, but he explained the traditional decorum regarding men's hats and said, "I hope you will conform to that practice in the future." "Thank you," said the man. "And thank you for taking time to talk to me. It was good of you to ask me to join the congregation. In fact, I joined it three years ago and have been coming regularly ever since, but today is the first day anyone ever paid attention to me. After being an unknown for three years, today, by simply keeping on my hat, I had the pleasure of talking to the ushers. And now I have a conversation with you, who have always appeared too busy to talk to me before!"

    What do we do to make strangers welcome? Are we too busy that we have no time to keep the greatest commandment?

    There are plenty of lonely, rich, old people in this world who would give anything to be loved. You and I were created for relationships. It is built into every fiber of our being. It has been said, "Love works for those who work at it." Love does not come nicely packaged and colorfully wrapped. We must work at it, put it together little by little, day by day and piece by piece, because love just doesn't happen.

    There are times in life when all of us wonder where we will find the strength to go on. Maybe it will come from a spouse, or our offspring, or a friend. Other people are a great source of consolation and comfort. But there will come a time when all of us will have to lean on our ultimate friend, God. There will be no one else who can help. And why shouldn't we turn to God? This is that for which he created us—relationships. So the first piece to build that love relationship is turning towards God and looking for comforts in him.

    Belonging to God and being rooted in God lead to an act of service. Mother Teresa once said of herself, "By blood and origin, I am all Albanian. My citizenship is Indian. I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the whole world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus." It is this relationship of belonging and the loving service which grows out of that belonging. The Bible calls this covenantal relationship. Let our meaningful relationship with God find rightful expression in love of neighbor. Love just doesn't happen, so let's build it piece by piece and day by day.

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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