Love is the answer

GOD’S WORD TODAY - Ruben M. Tanseco S.J. - The Philippine Star

All the three readings in today’s Holy Mass are focused on fraternal correction motivated by love. To begin with, all the four Gospels are unanimous in pointing out God’s never-ending love for all of us, and our response in loving Him in return and loving one another as we love ourselves. This is God’s law of love from which all His other laws follow. “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.    (Lk. 10:25-28; cf. Mt. 22:37-39, Mk. 12:28-34, and John 15:9-17).

What an inspiring law indeed, but easier said than done. Particularly when your loved one starts to do something unlovable, or even immoral. This loved one can be your friend or family member. Fraternal correction motivated by love may be responded to in an unloving way. At times, it may even end the relationship. But it is worth taking the risk, if we really embrace the meaning of authentic love.

Here are two male friends, both married, and working together in the same company. One of them starts to become attracted to a female working in the same office. His male friend noticed this early enough, and warned his friend about it. But the friend did not seem to take it seriously, and continued to develop the relationship more. Finally, motivated by no less than love for him and his family, his friend invited him to have a serious dialogue with him. His own love that came from his heart was expressed in his tone of voice, facial expression, and spirituality. All this entered the heart of his friend, who made the brave decision to end the relationship with the other woman and be closer and stronger in his love for his wife and family. God’s involvement here cannot be ignored. Fraternal correction motivated by love.

Moreover: “If certain people have a duty of giving correction, then certain people have the duty of accepting correction. It takes humility, it takes honesty to accept a correction. To offer a correction and to accept a correction requires God’s help. . . .“ (Msgr. Arthur Tonne).

The words of Pope Francis are worth quoting here: “Actually, before God we are all sinners and in need of forgiveness. All of us. Indeed, Jesus told us not to judge. Fraternal correction is a mark of the love and communion which must reign in the Christian community; it is rather, a mutual service that we can and must render to one another. To reprove a brother is a service, and it is possible and effective only if each one recognized oneself to be a sinner and in need of the Lord’s forgiveness.  The same awareness that enables me to recognize the fault of another, even before that, reminds me that I have likewise made mistakes and I am often wrong.”

Here is a couple, married for more than 10 years. They still love each other, but often quarrel about certain major issues in their married life. They came to a point of separating as a solution, but somehow, God gave them the grace to seek professional counseling. It was here that they experienced deep, mutual empathy, which saved their marriage. Empathy means compassion, which comes from two Latin words: “cum” which means “with”, and “pati” which means “to suffer.” To suffer with the other what the other is going through. In the case of our couple, the wife was asked to share in detail what she was going though regarding the issue involved.  While listening, the husband set aside his ego, and placed himself in the world of his wife – to be with her, think with her, and feel with her. On her part as speaker, she likewise set aside her ego, and described objectively how the issue was affecting her, without accusing her husband. After this was done, it was then the husband who shared with his wife what he was going through without accusing her. With empathy, the wife on her part listened and placed herself in his shoes. She became mentally and emotionally aware of what he was really going through. After this experience of mutual empathy, the couple then went through the pros and cons of each one’s proposed solution. Objectively, they then agreed on a solution where each one wins a little and loses a little.  This is what the couple agreed upon, out of love for each other. A win-win solution. They were both convinced that this was where God was calling them.

In the life of Christ, we can see how compassionate and loving He was in correcting sinners. Allow me to single out His relationship with that tax collector, Zaccheus. Jesus felt in His heart the hunger of Zaccheus for forgiveness and mercy. Thus, Jesus gave Zaccheus the opportunity by inviting Himself to Zaccheus’ home. We know the rest of the story. Indeed, fraternal correction motivated by love. (Lk. 19:1-10). There are other similar incidents in the Gospels. Another very touching one is that of the sisters Martha and Mary. Martha complained that she was busy preparing to serve Jesus, while Mary chose to sit at Christ’s feet and listen to His words. With mercy and compassion, Jesus explained to Martha that “Mary had chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Lk. 10:42).

Let us end with Matthew’s description of Jesus the Lover and the message of Jesus Himself: “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.’” (Mt. 9:35-38).

Indeed, this message is for all of us, especially today, when more and more previous disciples are turning their backs from the Master. In both prayer and action, let us double, may, triple our efforts. Amen.

vuukle comment
  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with