In today’s Gospel Our Lord reminds the Pharisees, and us, that if we truly want to understand the ways and desires of God we need to see things through the lens of love. Love for God and love for neighbor are intimately linked, which is why extremists of any religion who claim to harm their neighbor in the name of God are about as far from the truth as can be imagined. Some people try to project themselves on God, and paint him as aloof, distant, cruel, self-absorbed. Others in the face of suffering and evil question whether God loves us at all, or why he would allow bad things to happen.
If we want to truly understand who God is, we must look at him from the perspective of love and imitate him in his love for us. If we contemplate God on the Cross, the Son nailed to the Cross, depicted on every crucifix, wounded our of love for us, as Christians we need no further answer. God loved us so much that he sent his son to save the world, and his son saved the world through submitting to the worst cruelty that evil and sin could inflict: injustice, torture, and death. He subjected himself to that out of love for us. Yet he doesn’t throw that in our face: he is silent on the cross, but he speaks volumes to our hearts: he doesn’t say, “how dare you,” but “I love you.”
Love is not just something we try to live; it is a grace–the theological virtue of charity–poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Let’s try to see things through the lens of charity today in order to grow in love for God and love for others.
Readings: Ruth 1:1, 3–6, 14b–16, 22; Psalm 146:5–10; Matthew 22:34–40.