September 13, 2012 - Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13
Psalm 139:1-3, 13-14, 23-24
Luke 6:27-38

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love is all we need. Love your brothers and sisters. Love your enemies. Love the one who hits you. Love the one who steals from you. Love those who hate you. Love those who curse you. Love sinners. Love everybody. If we do that, we will be children of God, who loves everybody. What does it mean to love? Our readings today give us some practical advice. Love means being merciful. Love means not judging and not condemning. Love means thinking of others before we act. Love means forgiving. Love means giving.

God is love. God gives. God gave us the power to give, to be like him. The more we give, the more like him we are. This is the irony of original sin. Satan told Eve that if she took the fruit and ate it she would be like God, but God never took anything. Taking is the most un-Godlike action that anyone can ever do. When you look at the 10 Commandments, they can be thought of as “Give. Don’t Take. Give. Give. Don’t take. Don’t Take. Don’t Take. Give. Don’t even think about taking. Don’t even think about taking.”

Love means giving without thought for ourselves. This seems hard. If we do not provide for ourself, who is going to? That is the secret. So long as I continue providing for myself, begrudging every small gift which I give out of my limited means, I will be under the impression that my only support is me. If I take Jesus’ advice, and turn all my energy outward into giving, I will find that there is one far richer than I am. This is why St. Francis was richer than Rockefeller. By embracing poverty, he had all the wealth of God.

So this is how it is: everyone gives to themself, and wants God to give them even more. And this is how it supposed to be: everyone gives to others, and God provides for them. Ever since that day in the garden, we have been trained to reach out and take what we want. Jesus is telling us to love by giving. All our inertia is headed in the wrong direction, and we will not find it easy to turn it completely around from taking to giving, but, if we do, our view of life, the universe, and everything will be completely changed.