The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD (DWIMS, Tagaytay City)
Friday 3rd Week of Lent
Photo: Ordination Mass in the Cathedral of Notre Dame du Congo, Kinshasa
Love – a popular theme in movies, “teleserye” programs, and songs – is key to the meaning of relationships. More importantly, love is the heart of Jesus’ teaching and the center of his life.
In today’s reading, Jesus says that love is the greatest commandment: love of God and love of neighbor. These two loves are inseparable. We can’t relate to God lovingly in prayer if we don’t relate to our neighbor lovingly in action. The Apostle John explains: “If someone says he loves God but hates his brother, he is a liar. For he cannot love God, whom he has not seen if he does not love his brother whom he has seen.” (1 John 4, 20)
This is a call for us to balance in our Christian life the vertical dimension of our relationship with God in prayer with the horizontal dimension of our relationship with others in loving service. But we can neither say that our “service” is our prayer nor our “prayer” a service to others.
Concretely, then, while we use our lips to say our prayers, we should also use them to utter good words to others. The hands we fold in prayer should also be open to help the needy. The eyes we use to gaze on our Lord’s presence in the Eucharist should be able to see the misery of the poor around us. The legs we use to kneel before God in prayer should also be used to bring the Good News of the Gospel to all. Let us always remember that our love for others is the real sign of our genuine love for God.