30th Sun A
Reflection is an essential element of our growth in Christ. As we reflect over what we have learnt and ponder it in our hearts, we come to recognise the presence of God in our lives.
This Sunday's Reflection
It is odd how, in English, there are many single words for sexual intercourse that are crude vulgar or crass but there are no single words that describe it positively. The best we have are two word terms of which the most popular would be ‘making love.’ Those two words give us an insight into what true love is about, love being more than just sex. It is not just feeling desire, getting a physical or emotional high or a warm glow. True love doesn’t just happen – it is made. A couple can be deeply attracted to each other, parents may experience an outstanding rush of love towards their baby at birth, but deep abiding love is made, built up over time, onto a bedrock of patience, with gestures of generosity and fortitude, joy and sorrow,
‘Being intimate’, another term for sex which has a wider meaning, is more than physical closeness. Harriet Goldher Lerner well describes intimacy as maintaining a relationship over the long haul. Just being physically close to another while trying to maintain emotional closeness forces us to face the strengths and liabilities both of the other and of our own selves.
So what has this to do with Jesus’ twin commandments to love? A lot. While we can trust that God’s love streams towards us, we have to learn how to ‘make love’ back to God. This usually entails us accepting that God loves us unconditionally, that we don’t have to earn this love and that we need to be patient with our own failings. When we truly experience that mercy, a power to love like that is born within us. From God we learn how to love ourselves, then we must offer that same love to others. No wonder Jesus twinned these commandments together.