“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (ROM 12: 9-12)
St. Paul speaks today, on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, like he is saying a litany: every short sentence brings more and more understanding for what love really is. From the negative—“hate what is evil” to the positive—“love one another with mutual affection,” he describes perfectly how Our Lady, the Mother of God, put love into practice.
“Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” (MK 12: 10-11)
The world and its history from God’s perspective looks totally different. What we call failure, God sees as an opportunity; rejection is an occasion to grow, and sin brings more grace, like “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” It is only possible for God—“by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.”
“Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead; you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 COR 11: 26)
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ brings us closer to this most unique mystery—Our Lord is with us in His Body and Blood. And He likes to be part of our history and our lives. He died for us to keep us alive, and He will come again to take us to Heaven. When we come to Holy Communion, when we “eat this bread and drink the cup,” and when we take Him out to our cities and parishes, “we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”
“I am the living bread come down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
“Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” (JUDE 17: 21)
“The love of God” and “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” “leads to eternal life.” We have different obligations: “keep ourselves in the love of God,” “wait for the mercy,” and follow the lead. Both “keep,” “wait” and “leads” are verbs, but different activities are expected from us: action, patience and trust. Also we need to be in relationship within our families: action in love, patience and trust.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly; giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (1 PT 4: 8-9)
Love—the first commandment—has many forms of expression. One of the most popular, especially within families, is hospitality. When we receive guests, we receive with them different traditions or different expectations, and we have a huge opportunity to practice love, love which “covers a multitude of sins.” Sin is always looking from my perspective, and love is looking from the perspective of the other person, looking for his/her good, not mine.
“I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus said to him in reply, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” (MK 10: 51-52)
It was such a simple question for Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?”—“Master, I want to see.” There was no doubt and no need for time to think; there was no request concerning others: make them better for me or give me food and shelter. He said—“I want to see” and followed Him on the way. He received much more than he asked for: Our Lord is “the light of the world, whoever follows Him will have the light of life.”
“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (MK 10: 43-45)
When we look for rewards, glory and appreciation, Our Lord reminds us how important it is to “be the slave of all,” and “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.” There is no greater example than Our Lord’s who “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (MK 10: 29-31)
All our activities are for something—sports for being healthy, work for growing and for a salary, vacations for rest, retreats for a better relationship with God, and Programs for a better relationship with our spouse. But we should never forget about the final reason for all our activities—“for His sake and for the sake of the Gospel.”
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.”
“Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 PT 1: 8-9)
We can’t see Our Lord, but we can love Him. Loving Him is more important than seeing Him. With love it is easier to believe in Him. When love and belief is present, we can “attain the goal of faith—the salvation of our souls.”
“Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (JN 16: 15)
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity brings us closer to the most holy unity: God, who loves His Son and loves the Holy Spirit, the Son, who is born by the Father, and the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. They are all together in the same nature, but different in roles, sharing everything with each other—“everything that the Father has is mine,” the perfect Community and the perfect example for us.
“Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God who is, who was, and who is to come.” (Gospel Acclamation)