The Strange Thing About Christian Love

The gospel today recounts an incident when our Lord was challenged by the Pharisees – the teachers of the Law: Which is the greatest commandment?

Our Lord replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

My thoughts rest on the dominant word in our Lord’s response, “Love.” The The original Greek of the text is “agapeseis,” which translates to “you shall be loving.” The root, evidently, is “agape.”

Years before the birth of our Lord, the ancient Greeks referred to “agape” as the feelings that one has for a spouse, one’s children, family, or household – even for that of a good meal.

Perhaps that can be a good point of reflection today: Is my love for the Lord and for others like that of one’s love for spouse, children, or family? Such love means sacrifice for, zealous protection of, a desire to bring constant joy and laughter to, a willingness to suffer with the one you love. That, after all, is my understanding of “family.”

Is my love for the Lord and for others a love that gives me joy and satisfaction – just like a good meal?

Oh well, that’s a lot to think about in itself. That’s the strange thing about Christian Love – it’s like that of a family and a good meal…

And for those of you who are like me struggling with love, perhaps the best starting point would be the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass… After all, it is a gathering of God’s family and a sacred meal, where we feed on Christ Himself, who offered himself up as spouse and food for all of us.

And then by frequent ┬áparticipation, the grace of our masses would – could – teach our hearts to love as He loves…