We can look at the history of the Church and see how in certain moments there is a lack of love and charity. How can we find justification for the pain that was part of the Crusades, for the religious wars occasioned by the Protestant Reformation, or for the continual persecution of the Jewish people in the middle Ages and beyond? The love of God was not in evidence in any of this.
Few years ago, one of my cousins and her husband befriended a house painter from another country who had done some work for them. After about a year, he became sick. My cousin visited him in the hospital. He told her that he was gay and had contracted AIDS. His entire family had deserted him. My cousin and her husband visited and cared for him, almost living in the hospital, until the day he died. The love of God was evident in their actions. This love was not evident in those who deserted him, perhaps, claiming high moral grounds.
We have to ask ourselves in a serious examination of conscience if the love of God is evident in our own family structures, if the love of God is the fundamental rock in our parish. More important than rules is the reason for their establishment: love. We make rules for children because we love them. At the same time, we have to be careful that we never allow a rule to destroy love. For example, saying to a teenager: “You know the rule. You broke it. Now get out of this house.” or “You broke the rules, you are no longer part of this family,” are the ways Christians shouldn’t act. No good was every accomplished by hiding love behind rules.
You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, we just heard in the gospel reading.
Let us do some examination of conscience.
Let us ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifier.
And let us use the beautiful prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola: Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to work and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will just for love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen ■