|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love is Way
When we are adolescents, we want our own things our own way and we often say, “I want. I want now.” When we are young we do not understand that there are limits and that we cannot have everything we want. As adults, we come to understand we cannot have everything because there are others who need things in the family. For example, we cannot always do what we want because other family members might want to do something else. As adults, we understand that there are necessary limits to what we get and what we want.
There are other times that we do not get everything, not because we cannot have it but because it is not a good thing to have. As adults, we understand that we limit ourselves because it is not a good idea. Food is an example: if we eat anything and everything we realize that is not always good for us. Adolescents do not always understand that. Children don’t understand that. Adults understand the need for discipline and boundaries.
The same is true for our own spiritual lives. We have to move away from the adolescent, “I want. Lord. I want it now.” We need to grow up, go beyond and be spiritually mature where we understand the need for limits. Today’s scripture tells us that we are called to love one another. And part of that discipline, which is the root word of disciple, is to be a disciple of Christ; to set boundaries to our own wants and needs so that we can give to others who have often far greater needs than us.
We do that inside our own family unit with our spouse and our children. But as a community of faith, we are called to go way beyond just our own homes and households. We are called to go into our community and to care in that way and indeed we are called to go beyond just our parish community and into our county, our country and even internationally. And why? Because we have been so blessed with so much that we can and so we should.
The role of being a Christian comes from today’s First Reading and the Gospel. We are called to care for those who are widows and orphans; those who have so little. We are called to reach out not just our own our family and our friends, that is important, we must not neglect that, but that is where we start. That is where we get the community and strength to go and to give beyond. To love God with all our mind, with all our heart and with all our soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.