Sacrifice, affliction, wrath, power, deliverer, stronghold… love. Our readings this Sunday are full of emotion – emotions of every kind. And yet there is one theme that connects all those violent and chaotic emotions, LOVE.
The first reading, from Exodus, is part of the proclamation of the Ten Commandments. We all know those commandments from school, but today we are asked to look at them through the lens of love: Love the Lord your God above all other Gods for He loves you as His own. Love those who are struggling or alone, for you have been struggling and alone at times and others have helped you. Deal with those who are less fortunate with love, and in all interactions treat them with mercy. Although Exodus is written from the negative perspective, telling us what will happen if we disobey God’s laws, looking at it through the eyes of love we can see the good that comes when we obey God’s laws.
The responsorial psalm reiterates how much God loves us. God created us, protects us, delivers us, gives us hope for a future with Him. All we need is love!
In the second reading, from First Thessalonians, we are given hope for those who do not currently live lives of love. The Thessalonians did not know God, but they listened to the Gospel proclaimed to them, and they came to believe and love God, and were saved. Love not only makes our lives here on Earth better, but it is the key to our salvation.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, to break open the scriptures and write them on the hearts of his followers. In our Gospel reading Jesus did just that. The affliction and wrath which the Old Testament predicted for those who do not live in love are still there. The power, deliverance and fortress of God’s love for us stand true. But Jesus wants us to remember that love is the key, not all those violent words. Love is the truth and the most important law of all.
God is always reaching out to us with love. We must now accept His love, and live out God’s love in our relationships with all those around us. Love for God, Love for our Neighbours: if we can respond to God’s love with these two things, then our earthly lives will be fulfilling and we will experience the joy of the Resurrection.