Yesterday’s 45th Anniversary MYP Mass by Fr. Bob Lauder was just before Pentecost Sunday, so that may be why he emphasized God’s love in his homily. . .
On Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit spurs Jesus’ followers to bring God’s love to the rest of the world by showering them with the courage to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (according to Galatians 5:22-23; St Jerome’s Latin translation adds goodness, modesty, and chastity) . . . .
If you and I remember what love (TRUE love) is, we can easily see that having TRUE LOVE is the way to all the rest.
Most of us who speak English use many definitions of love. The ancient Greeks (famous for accurate words) had several different words for love. (See Wikipedia for Greek words for love. Note especially Agape, the word most often used for love in the original Greek gospels.)
Which of the following are your meanings of love?
liking a lot, appreciating intellectually, being crazy about, being sexually turned on, being a fan of, being addicted to, being a friend
Which one of these is closest to really TRUE LOVE?
Catholic theology would probably say “being a true friend.”
Consider Jesus’ definition displayed by His words in the gospels:
John Ch. 15:12 “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you….”
15:17 “This I command you: love one another.”
Matthew Ch. 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
Love doesn’t seem to be an emotional or sexual reaction here; it seems to be an action that doesn’t depend on our feelings. It looks like, for Jesus, acting as a friend to friends and enemies alike is what true love is.
The official Catholic theological definition of TRUE LOVE is clear:
LOVE IS A DECISION TO ACT FOR THE GOOD OF THE LOVED ONE
We can still use love to mean the other definitions as long as we remember that there is only one meaning for TRUE LOVE and that’s what God asks His friends to do for all His creatures.
Yesterday’s Mass framed a crowning anniversary of love’s true meaning. The Holy Spirit in our MYP logo was smiling all afternoon.