By Fr. Tim Knepper, C.PP.S.
Years ago, I worked at a retail store in the automotive department. We had a car stereo display where people could mess around with different systems before buying the one for their car. Probably, far more people messed around with the systems than purchased a stereo system. One of my co-workers nearly always brought in his cassette tapes of George Thorogood and the Destroyers to play on the display system. Whenever his girlfriend stopped in to visit him, one of the songs immediately got played every time: “Who Do You Love?”
The readings this weekend aren’t exactly about “a cobra snake for a necktie” or “rattlesnake hides” or a human skull, but like George Thorogood, the readings do ask us about love. Thomas Aquinas gives us a good look at love: to will the good of the other without any expectation of something in return (I-II q. 27, a. 2). In today’s Gospel, Jesus simplifies all of the commandments into one I can remember: love of God and love of neighbor. Loving our neighbors flows from loving God. Loving God leads us to love our neighbors where we can see God in our neighbors too.
In our Precious Blood spirituality, we are called to hear and respond to the cry of the blood. Opening our ears to this call and opening our hearts to this response flows from this love of God and love of neighbor, especially our neighbors who are excluded or left out the most. Who our neighbor is changes over time, not because people don’t count as our neighbors but because something opens our eyes to who else is excluded or left out. Immigrants, refugees, those with mental illness, and the poor stand out as part of the cry of the blood asking for us to hear and respond today. The polarization in the country and the Church today calls us to remember who is our neighbor and that love of neighbor comes before disagreeing, judging or arguing with them.
At times, it can get tiring to hear about love over and over again. Like songs on forever repeat in retail stores, even automotive departments, it gets old from how repetitive it is. Even though it’s tiring, it’s what our God does: God loves us, over and over again, and offers us this love more frequently than the most annoying song you’ve ever heard on the radio in a retail store. God’s love offered over and over again to us invites us to respond with love for God and love for our neighbor. May we find our God in this love of our neighbor. May we find our neighbor in the love we offer to our God.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.