23 August 2019. Memorial of Saint Rose of Lima
Reflection (Sem. Rodel D.O. Aclan)
In this generation, we see and understand love through the image of a man and a woman deeply in-love, inseparable and passionate to each other. Certainly, this idea of love is true and desirable especially for married people as well as those who are starting a romantic relationship. However, our Christian faith tells us to transcend this understanding of love.
St. Rose of Lima, whose memorial we celebrate today, demonstrated this kind of transcended love. She was said to have a radiant beauty from her infancy yet she refused to marry for the sake of a far greater love – the love for the Lord. “She made a vow of virginity and performed works of charity for the sick and the poor (from the Sts. of the Roman Calendar)”.
Jesus summarized the whole commandments of God in the Old Testament in this two-fold commandment of love: love of God and love of neighbour. However, love here is not only in the level of feelings “but covenant fidelity, a matter of willing and doing” (Jerome Bible Commentary). Thus, our love must be characterized with fidelity and faithfulness, a kind of love that would remain even in times of trials and suffering. Jesus did not abandon the cross for only one reason, and that is because He loves us.
Real love transcends the euphoric feelings that we often associated with it. True love is not dictated nor conditioned with our situation or state of being but with our fidelity to the One whom we said we love and in fact, had loved us first.
The Gospel Today
Matthew 22: 34 – 40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, 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.”