HOMILY FOR THE 30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
THEME: LOVE BEYOND FEELINGS
Beloved in Christ, this morning Mother Church invites us to reflect on the demand to love God and our neighbour; warning that we cannot separate love of God from love of neighbour (cf 1 John 4:20). Christian love is a two dimensional kind of love. It is like the cross, where the vertical refers to love of God and the horizontal refers to the love of neighbour.
My dear friend, we are charged to translate our love of God into our love for neighbour (cf Luke 10:27). This can be done when we love one another just as we are loved by Jesus (cf John 13:34; 15:12) This love must be beyond emotions and feelings, for feelings are unreliable – one moment they’re present, the next moment they’re not. They come and go as and when they like.
Beloved, Jesus therefore calls us to a love that is expressed in concrete actions. This Love then is a choice, a decision , and a commitment to do something. It focuses on what we do to others and not what we feel towards them. It is for this reason that Matthew 25 says that judgement will be about deeds and not about feelings of love of neighbour.
We are therefore obliged, says the first reading to show mercy and compassion towards the poor, orphans, widows and strangers. This is to encourage us to become examples of how to live the Christian faith, we are to become models of love to the world and in the world.
Finally, my dear friend, love though involves feelings, is not defined by it. Rather, it is a decision based on the mandate from Jesus and we are obliged to obey it as Christians. We are challenged to give to the world the example of love that is concretely expressed in deeds of compassion and mercy. We are not to love the person who deserves our love only but also the very ones who make loving them very difficult due to how they treat us. This is the way of loving just as Jesus loved us and this is our charge.