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love one another

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love…”

God the Father chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Mother of his Divine Son, Jesus Christ, who wants us to remain in his love, his saving grace.

What a great mystery. God is the source of all love, and yet he became a little baby, born of the Virgin Mary, so that he could experience the love of a Mother, and then lay down his life for her and all of us, that the gates of heaven would be open to us.

Next week the Church in this Archdiocese celebrates the Ascension of our Lord into heaven on Sun-day, May 12, which is also Mother’s Day. We honor all mothers who love God and their family – like God loves each one of us – unconditionally, without reserve. It is not hard to see that Jesus honored Mary by drawing her up to heaven, body and soul, on the Solemnity of the Assumption, which we celebrate August 15.

God loves us unconditionally, and yet His love calls us to open up and enter into that love so that we can share His love with others. How? Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, “Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.”

That’s a big “if”. God loves us unconditionally, but for his love to enter into our hearts we have to decide to follow God’s Ten Commandments, and to celebrate his Seven Sacraments. God offers his love to us always, but we need to respond to his love by knowing and keeping his commandments in our minds and hearts, actions and words.

The first commandment is to love God as God, for he is the source and goal of all life and true love. We are to love God first and foremost because he alone can save us from sin and damnation. We love God above all things, so that we can love God appropriately within all people and things. We show our love of God by praying to him with Jesus Christ first thing in the morning: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name…Give us this day, our daily bread.”

Hopefully we have the opportunity to say “Good morning” to our Mom and Dad, family and friends, and it is beneficial for us and the world to say “Good morning” to God by praying to him, and praising and thanking him for the gift of life and the life of our parents. It seems right to pray “Hail, Mary, full of grace…” immediately after the Lord’s prayer since the Blessed Virgin Mary is our Mother in the order of grace.

When we love God above all things, we learn how to love God within all people and things appropriately. Sometimes we fall short in loving God completely, but that is why we pray in the “Our Father”, “forgive us our trespasses (sins), as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us.”

When I was in 7th grade, my Mom and Dad taught religious education from our home. Sometimes when class finished I still had some questions. Even though they enjoyed relaxing and watching the news after class, anytime I had a question about the faith they would turn off the T.V. and listen. They showed me that they loved God and me, more than relaxation and the news.

Last Sunday we had some of our young disciples celebrate their first communion. God is so happy for them, as well as for their parents, family and our whole faith community. God loves them and had purified them when they celebrated their first confession. We know that to love God above all things means receiving him worthily in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, for it is truly Jesus Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity present to us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Parents love their children and provide for their physical needs like food and drink, but even before that they ask their children to wash their hands before every meal, and maybe even take a shower three times a week. So too God the Father and Holy Mother Church provide for us the bread from heaven, and ask us to cleanse our souls through prayer and good works, but especially in the Sacrament of Confession, like a shower for one’s soul – not three times a week, but we hope they do so monthly, which is recommended by our Bishops.

Today, and every Sunday Mass, we gather around the altar at Church to let God love us and nourish us, then we can gather around the table at home to pray and eat and share stories of how God has fed us with his love in the Word and Holy Communion. In this manner, we will remain in God’s love forever and grow in that love until we reach the perfection of heaven.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe


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