Love, Love and More Love

October 29, 2017

If I asked you, what is the greatest thing you ever have done in your life, what would you say?  What is the greatest accomplishment, greatest event, greatest thing you have ever done?   When the scholar asked Jesus what is the most important thing we can do, Jesus’ answer was love.  Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.  The greatest thing we can do is love.  I am sure when asked what the greatest thing you are most proud of is, it would find its foundation in love; love of God and love of neighbor.  A parent loves a child not only into existence, but with all the joys and sorrows they experience.  A parent’s love changes the world.  Others might remark that it was when they got married and found a soul-mate. For me, the joy of priesthood flows for the opportunity to celebrate Eucharist, celebrate the Sacraments.  That moment of surrender stands firm.  I also have been humbled to help others help the poor.  A truck drives around Nigeria at a parish because we pooled money together and were able to provide transportation.  A water spigot was purchased and installed so that the poor could come at no charge and receive water.  These acts of charity, these acts of love touch me deeply.

Love begins with a realization of who we are.  Self-awareness leads us to selfless giving in love.  Jesus knew who He was.  He knew His role; He knew He had to take time out to pray to His heavenly Father and our Father.  In that revelation of prayer, He showed to us awareness.  Then from awareness He emptied Himself upon the cross to redeem those He loved, the entire world.  To reflect deeply on love, we realize before we can love our neighbor we must realize who we are as a neighbor.  We must first have our relationship with God defined.  So often the greed and self-serving actions of communities, governments, and businesses have lost sight of the first part of being capable of awareness.  They have lost sight of who they are in the world.  To know who we are we must define ourselves as who we are not.  We are not God, we are not the creator, we are not perfect and we are not in control.  When that is experienced and embraced, we can move to the self-emptying experience of love.

Jesus showed us the way, it is simple; know who you love and who loves you.

Reverend John J. Ouper