Friday of the TwentiethWeek in Ordinary Time
The love for the church
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] 20 tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Mt 22,34-40
Today it is much of a debate in the christianity if the primacy is to the love to God or to that to the neighbor. We believe that the primacy is to the love to God, of which we are small rays, reflecting the divine love which is the origin of everything: of the creation, of the man and of the love among the men. Jesus announces us: “This is my commandment. Love one another as I love you” (Jn 15,12). And then he repeats again: “This I command you: love one another” (Jn15,17). From these statements it might seem that the primacy is to the love to the neighbor, but it is not so. It is however true that the love to the neighbor is the litmus paper to check out our love to God, because these two emotions, in a spiritual path, become one only thing: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” says John in his first letter (1Jn 3,14). And by this way we arrived to the source of the love to ourselves, because who loves God and the neighbor lives in the joy and loves himself. These three forms of love – to God, to the neighbor and to ourselves – touch themselves and achieve together the step from the shore of the death to that one of the life, through the church, the only boat which does this ferry service. To board the boat the faith is necessary, but once we are on the boat we sail assured, because the Lord is at the helm. There is no boat more secure than the church. This is why we love the church: outside of it there is no love and there is not the Lord. Sometimes we would like the church being different, as we would like to be different. “But if you loved a perfect church – the Lord would say – what credit is that one which you would have?”. We love the church just because it is imperfect, but loving it we meet the Lord and the brothers and, all together, we can make it better.