October 31, 2021 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/103121.cfm)
It was once said that the Dalai Lama was invited as the keynote speaker to a gathering of world leaders. The world leaders were looking forward for this gathering to hear from the Dalai Lama about his message to the world today. They had heard and have known a lot about the Dalai Lama. Now they are excited to meet the Dalai Lama himself, and hoping that he could offer some perspectives and solutions on our world of present conflicts, strife, and divisions.
When the Dalai Lama arrived, he was received with great honor and applause. As he stood at the podium before the world leaders, he said: “My simple message to you and to the world is “Love one another”. And then he went back to his seat and kept quiet. The world leaders were all shocked with the simplicity of his message. They commented: “That’s all. We just came to hear to such familiar message? We have heard it before. There is nothing new about his message. Does he think we don’t know about it?” They were so frustrated that some of them started to walk out and even to a point insulted the Dalai Lama and the organizer. Amidst the commotions suddenly the Dalai Lama stood up, went back to the podium and addressed the plenum. He said to them, “If you find it difficult to practice love, try not to hurt each other.”
In our gospel today, Jesus gives us also a simple and direct message: “LOVE”. The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, your soul and mind. And to love one another as yourself.
Like the Pharisees of his time and the world leaders in the story, we can say that we also have heard it before. There is nothing new about such message. Sad to say however Jesus has the same message for us now, especially now in the world of pandemic, division, conflicts, and political turmoil: LOVE. As it was from the beginning, now and always be, Jesus has the same message and challenge to us Christian and to the world today: LOVE.
Be as it may nonetheless, for Jesus, to love is not just a commandment that we should be aware and conscious of. Love for Jesus is not a Concept or Idea but a Reality. Each of us have not only known about love but have experienced what and how it is to love. To love others and be loved by others then is not just a law that we should obey and observe in life, but a reality we experience and live through in life. As a song suggests, “we were born because of love”, therefore we must also live our lives in love. Because God loves us through others, we must also love God through others in return. Love is also an Action, meaning we must also do and practice love. It is not enough to just know and believe in love but we must put it into practice and proclaim love by our words and actions. To love God and loving others, then is a Decision. We love God and others because we are not commanded to do so, but because we choose to do so, we choose to love God and others.
Perhaps we ask ourselves: Do we love God with all our heart, soul and mind? Well, we might not be perfect in doing so, but that is what we are trying and resolve to do. But the best way to test our love of God is to ask, Do we love others and one another? The true measure and expression of our love for God is our love and loving others, as ourselves. Do you love your cranky husband or wife? Do we still love our aging irritable parents? Can we still love our neighbor who cheated us, our friend who betrayed, our relative who hurt us?
Yes, experience tells us that to love God in others is difficult. But for Jesus, in loving God, we must experience, put into practice, and choose Love in our lives and in our world today for when we do so, like the scribe who asks him, in loving we understand that we are not far from God’s kingdom. As the Dalai Lama reminds us: “If you find it difficult to practice love, try not to hurt each other.”
Lord, as you have loved us, teach us also how to love you in return by choosing to loving others & one another. Amen.