The ultimate act of love
Sunday's Second Reading (1 Corinthians 10: 31-11:1):
'Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. Never do anything offensive to anyone – to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God; just as I try to be helpful to everyone at all times, not anxious for my own advantage but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved. Take me for your model, as I take Christ.'
This text from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians is a real affirmation of Christ's call to love God and to love our neighbour.
If we do everything for the glory of God then we are showing Him that we love Him above all else. And if we never do anything to offend and always try to be helpful to others, not because we want to derive some advantage from it but because we want the other person to benefit, then we will be loving our neighbour.
And while it might sometimes be hard to love God and to love our neighbour, these requirements are not negotiable.
Yet, even though they are non-negotiable they should not be seen as a hindrance. In fact, they are anything but a hindrance! They are a joy because they seek the glorifying and praising of Almighty God and they elevate Him to top spot in our lives; where He belongs. Further, they are a joy because they are a call to love others and to treat them with great respect, kindness and mercy.
Too often we see these calls to love as a cross to bear and too often we begrudge putting in the effort to love, opting instead to make life easy on ourselves and slot into society's ways of idle gossip and cynicism. And in our self-centredness we fail to see that the cross of love is something that Christ has already carried on his shoulders and he did it so that we could love freely.
Brothers and sisters, we have been given a great gift; the gift to love God and to love one another without condition and without asking for anything in return. Christ has already borne the cross of unimaginable pain and has purchased for us the gift of a pure and spotless love. All we need to do is enjoy giving it to others.