Christianity is a religion of Love. Our religion is built and founded on love, she (the Church) is founded on God who is Love (1 Jn 4:8,16). The reason why our faith survived despite constant persecutions to the members by the powerful since the beginning is that of the love of the founder: Jesus Christ. The love of God in Jesus is greater and more powerful compared to the weaknesses and sins of the members. The love of God in Jesus bestowed upon His Church is more powerful than Satan and his minions in the world. History has already proved that.
In the gospel the Lord said to our first ancestors, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (v.35). Love is our ID. Our founder, the Lord Jesus Christ, had shown us the true and practical meaning of love, when he offered his very life for us on the cross. Thousands of martyr-saints have followed the way of Jesus. And up to now, we continue to encounter the suffering and persecutions in the same way. That is being true and faithful to the founder—to Jesus. No religion can equal to the quality of life-witness offered by its members. Only the Catholics have done that, not out of blindness, extreme fundamentalism and fanaticism, but in the name of love. Our ancestors have accepted death freely and joyfully in the name of love and their love for Jesus. That is what is unique to the faith of the Catholic Church. Other religions and sects used the so-called “cafeteria principles”. They only select what suit to their taste or doctrines/teachings. Or they only chose the kind of flavor they like the same like when you go to a cafeteria. You don’t order or buy everything, don’t you! That’s why in terms of social issues, only the Catholic Church remains steadfast and faithful to the teaching of God. For her (the Church), in matters of faith, morals and human life and dignity, there is no compromise applied. But out of love, she never condemns anyone. However people in the world ignores her teachings and often times misunderstand her points, like her founder, the Church will remain forgiving, understanding and loving like a mother to her erring children.
As Catholics, our measurement of loving is to love without measure. A mature love will be measured in this manner. Again, like Jesus our Lord and Savior, our perfect lover, we are all reminded of our ID: Love. Yes, to love is not easy. There is no easy way to win the heart of someone especially is he/she is not yet ready to accept your love or he/she is not yet ready to love us back. Yet, a true lover can also wait. That’s why God, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, day and night, is patiently waiting for us, his prodigal children when the time we realize to come home. That is also the image of the Church. Our Church is like school, she has an ID, and that ID is no more than love. She is our school, where we are taught how to love. Our Church is our spiritual home as well. In here we experience love. There’s no place like our home.
Many of us Catholics have lost already our ID. Or some of us have replaced it with something else. Some wear or carry with them no longer love but indifference. So much so that sometimes we fell being alienated in our own home. We become strangers to each other.
Let us therefore reclaim our original ID. Let us go back home for us to experience the true love provided to us by our God and Loving Father through Jesus Christ our Savior, in the Holy Spirit. Let us reclaim what we’ve lost whenever we sin. Let us wear our true ID again. The world is badly needed to see and encounter this love through and from us. Let us love one another. Let us remember what the Lord said, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (v.35). Amen.
~ Fr Edgar Ma. Benedi-an, OSM
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter May 19, 2019 issue.