(c) Mateo Ivankovic 2017


July 5, 2017

St. Anthony Zaccaria

St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Dear Family of Mary!

“Love my Son above all and the whole world through Him…”

Fr. Leon spoke about this very reality at Mass on July 2, the day we received this message. Here is an excerpt from his homily at St. James Church.

Love is not about feelings. Love is a choice. I choose what is good for the other person, as one of the other fathers said in a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas, “Love is to choose the good of the other.” It is not about emotions.

One day your husband or wife is going to make you feel awful. And because they are so close to you they are going to make you feel really awful. They have the power to wound you, truly. And then what happens, do you walk out? No, love is more than that. Love is a choice.

So you can’t love your husband or wife and make them your goal. Marriage is only for this life, only until death. Don’t get carried away. I will love you forever. Yeah, in heaven. But you might have two wives by the time you get to heaven. You might have lost the first one and married another one.

If you don’t love Jesus first, your love for your husband or wife will fail. If you don’t love Jesus first, your love for your children will fail. And your love for your parents will fail. If Jesus is not in the middle. Jesus must always be in the middle.

In the Gospel that you heard today (Mt 10: 37-42), it is as if this family is falling apart. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…” It is almost as if you have to abandon your family, that is how Jesus seems to put it. But think about the dysfunctional family that we all know about. Remember the parable of the prodigal son.

Here you have a very dysfunctional family. The younger son says “give me the share that is due to me.” In other words, when to you inherit the money? When your father dies. So he is saying to his father, “Hurry up and die. I hate you already. I just want the money.” And he goes off. The elder son says, “All these years I worked for you and you never gave me so much as a kid.” In other words, “I have been putting up with you for the money too. And I don’t really care that much.” This is a very dysfunctional family.

And then when the younger son comes back, the elder one says, “When this, your son, went off carousing….” He says, “This, your son…” And the father has to remind him, “No this your brother!”

Now there is one innocent person in this whole story. One innocent person. Do you know who it is? Yes, the fatted calf. The fatted calf is the innocent person in that whole family. The fatted calf is a symbol of Jesus. Jesus, the Lamb of God. The one who is dumb before its shearers, who suffers for us all. “The Lamb who is forever slain,” as it says in Revelations.

Jesus is the one who can unite our families. Jesus is the one who can convert our families. It is only in loving God that we truly love other people. (From the homily given by Fr. Leon on July 2, 2017, at English Mass in Medjugorje –  )

Jesus has to be in the middle! He is who we love with our whole being, and then through Him, we will be able to love our neighbor. Jesus will make it possible. through Jesus we will be able to forgive, care for and comfort our husband or wife, children, family, and larger community. This is the only way love can flourish.

And so, let us love Jesus above all and the whole world through Him!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2017