Something to think about

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor wrote in The First Letter to the Corinthians in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary that ”A Eucharistic community cannot be a true gathering in which there are the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. In other words, Paul … clearly states that a Jesus community itself is the necessary basis for any and every celebration of the Eucharist, not vice versa. A genuine Eucharist cannot involve only a few people who communally celebrate the Eucharistic meal while the majority are present basically as onlookers. The essence of his [Paul’s] reaction is that there can be no Eucharist in a community whose members do not love one another.”

Paul himself writes of the absolute importance of love telling us that if one does not have love then one has nothing, for love is the greatest gift one can give to another. What should be emphasized here is that Paul is speaking of a specific type of love. The word agápē is one of the four words for love found in Koine Greek. The first is storge which brotherly love. The second is philia which is the love between friends. The third, eros, is romantic love, the sense of “being in love.” And the fourth type of love is agápē which is the love that God has for us and that we have for God.

Jesus tells us “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” [Jn 15:12-13]. This is agápē; Jesus neither equivocates nor does he offer conditions upon which we can love one but not another. He clearly and succinctly commands us to “love one another,” no if, ands, or buts.

Jesus gave us the Eucharist, the purest offering of his body and blood, as a real and substantive expression of his love for us, his gift of agápē, which we receive every time we celebrate the Eucharist. For this reason, Paul tells us that in order to receive the agápē of our Lord and Savior, we must love one another; we must exemplify and extend agápē to all of our brothers and sisters. To the extent that we limit ourselves in love for one another, we diminish our love for Jesus.

Dorothy Day once said “You only love God as much as you love the person you love the least.” Perhaps we should consider how much we love or fail to love others as a direct measure of our love for God. It is certainly something to think about.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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