Aug 23 (Mt 22:34-40)

There once was a farmer who grew award-winning ‘corn’ (maize).

>> Each year he entered his corn in the fair-competition conducted at the state-level, where it won a prize.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him.

Among the many great practices that this farmer had adopted, the reporter also learned something highly interesting about how this farmer grew corn…

…and which made him to win a prize every year.

The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn… his best variety seed…

… with his neighbouring farmers!

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours…

… when they are also entering into competition with you?” enquired the bewildered reporter.

“Why sir,” replied back the farmer, “didn’t you know one of the important realities of life?

The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field.

>> If my neighbours grow inferior variety of corn, the cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn as well.

If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.

This is the reality of life that I have realized: In order to get the best out of life, I need to give my best to the other!”

Yes, the farmer was very much aware of the relatedness of life.

>> His corn could not improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improved.

Have we realized this reality of our lives?

>> In order to get the best out of life, I need to give my best to the other!”

Those who choose to live well, must help others to live well too.

The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches.

>> And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness…

… for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all!

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbours grow good corn.

Let us all Love those that cross our paths.

Yes, Love is the starting point, the end and the essence of a Christian Life.

The Gospel of the Day emphasizes and affirms this aspect of Love: Love of God and Love of neighbour.

The Pharisees come together to trap Jesus with a question from the Law: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment of the Law?” (Mt 22: 36).

The Lord of Love is sought to be trapped in a web of malice!

>> This was a complicated question that was put forward to Jesus.

The Jewish Law of the Torah comprised 613 precepts.

>> It was certainly a challenge to condense these codes into a single commandment.

Probably Jesus would’ve looked into the eyes of the one who asked this question and thought, “Why do you seek to put me to the test?”

There was malice and a corrupt intention in the one who questioned.

>> But the greatness of the Lord overwhelms the evil designs of humans.

Jesus answers the question which had an evil bent, with an answer filled with goodness…

… “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind….

>> Love your neighbour as yourself”! (Mt 22: 37)

Bingo..!

>> Two birds with one shot!

He not just answered His interrogators but He also proclaimed the summary of the Gospel.

>> He not just silenced His critics but He also won many followers for the Good News.

The Pharisee came asking which is “the” greatest commandment (Mt 22: 36)

He expected just one commandment.

>> But Jesus answers with two…and showed that those two commandments are nothing but one!

The Love of God and the Love of neighbour…

>> They were two dimensions of the same Love.

And this One Love, with two facets, formed the basis of all the other commandments of the Law!

The tragedy of our world and our spirituality very often, is the separation of these two dimensions…

One loves God….but fails to love one’s neighbour!

>> Another loves the neighbour…but fails to love God!

One loves to read and hear and understand God’s Word…but fails to apply it in real life.

>> Another loves to have a lot of social relations…but fails to build a strong spiritual basis.

One loves to preach deeply over virtues of the Gospel…but fails to live them in actuality.

>> Another loves to be in friendship with all…but fails in closeness with God, the source of Love.

One loves the Church and her teachings…but falls short to serve the society and its peoples.

>> Another serves people…but vehemently hates the Church, the ark of the Sacraments of Love!

Christian love is not just about emotions.

>> Christian love is not just about feelings.

Christian love, is…

… making a decision to serve, even if one does not feel so.

… being faithful, even if one is rejected or even shown indifference.

… being committed, even if one feels an aversion towards the other.

Easier said, than done….right?

This is where, we need to…

… depend on God, the Source of Love itself!

… draw strength from the Sacraments that the Church offers!

… display a Passionate love of God in order to share it with others!

Unless we are in Communion with the Lord, all this reflection remains merely a theory.

>> Unless we are joined to God, the Source of Love, all our meditations remain superficial.

We need to pray as the Psalmist says: “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Ps 18: 2).

He is the strength for us to love our neighbour.

>> He is the source for us to share our lives with our neighbour.

>> He is the supplier of hope for us to sustain in our difficulties to love.

As the famous signboard reads…

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred….

>> LOVE THEM ANYWAY

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives…

>> DO GOOD ANYWAY

The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow…

>> DO HELP ANYWAY

What you spent years building, may be destroyed overnight…

>> BUILD ANYWAY

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth…

>> GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY

The world is thirsting for Love…

>> Each one of us is called to radiate this Love: Love of God and Love of Neighbour.

Yes, let us deepen our realization: In order to get the best out of life, I need to give my best to the other!”

>> Let us become an Apostle and Agent and Ambassador of Love!

Let us seek the intercession of St Rose of Lima, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> She is the patroness of gardeners, florists and all the people who are ridiculed/misunderstood for their piety!

May her words inspire us: “Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “To love our neighbour in charity is to love God in man…

… and man in God!

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