How to love others as Christ loves you FROM ROMANS 12:9-21
Brothers and Sisters, there are many ways we can show love for each other. Let us investigate the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans on how we can really show the love of God to everyone.
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;”
It’s more than just loving your neighbor, it also involves loving those who you don’t know. God created humanity to be a family. Look past the skin pigmentation and the language barrier. We are created in God’s image. We need to respect each other and hate things that destroys humanity. War, famine and disruptions in society are a cancer to the world. We must work tirelessly to promote the salvation message of Jesus Christ here on Earth.
“love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
When we have a common goal of helping each other, what better way than to show love for those around us. We need to have in our minds the desire to treat someone better than we want ourselves to be treated. This helps to get rid of that natural selfishness that we have inside of us. When your given the opportunity to help someone with cancer or building a home for women who have been victims of violent crimes, we are not just saying that we love those around us, but our actions demonstrate how much we are grateful to an Eternal God who gives us the opportunity to share our blessings to others.
“Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.”
Society says that we need to look out for ourselves and take care of number one. We mustn’t allow ourselves to paint this image that we are “god”. This is the greatest sin of the devil. He who wanted to be like God, rebelled and was cast out of heaven. The Holy Spirit is the giver of life. Only through the third person in the most Holy Trinity, can we be given the grace needed to “die of self”. Dying of self is very hard, but once it is mastered, we will no longer look for the self wants in our lives. We will desire to help those around us and advance in ways that are going to promote true Christian values in the lives of others.
“Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Hope is the one thing that helps us be closer to God. For the desire to be closer to the Creator, becomes the number one desire in our lives. We won’t look into “earthy passions” that will never satisfy us. We have a giant size hole in our souls. Only God is big enough to fill that empty space within ourselves. When hard times come, we must not complain to God, but rejoice in all suffering. When you look at salvation history, pain and suffering have always followed the people of God. Yet, God never abandons his children. It is we who turn away from him. Let us pray constantly as St. Paul says. Every breath we take should be a form of prayer.
“Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.”
Who is my Neighbor? It is anyone who is a human being. Notice I didn’t say a certain race or country. We all need each other. We are not created to be alone. We need each other to grow, play and worship. True Discipleship in God is always to deny ourselves and take up our Cross daily. The hardest thing to overcome in this world is self-love. But even, when we do overcome it, it’s harder to fight it daily. This requires Mercy that only God can give. This is not a grace what we automatically get, but it’s a genuine gift that God gives to those he chooses to give.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
When Peter ask Jesus how many times, he should forgive his brother, what was Jesus reply? Not seven times, but seventy times seven.. It means that if we want mercy from God, then we must show the same mercy back. To say that “I have forgiven but won’t forget” is not a true act of repentance. When God forgives your sins, he literally forgets them. (Isaiah 43:25 “ I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.) Jesus didn’t condemn Mary Magdalene of her sins, so as a follower of Christ, let us do likewise.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
Be there for someone who needs you. Not only in the happiest time like bringing a new child into the world, but also in the loss of a love one. In a very bad situation. Yes, pray for your brother, but also do something for them. It means a lot more when actions are taken, instead of empty words spoken.
“Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.”
God’s peace be with you, and with each other. Let us share in Christ’s love with the world. We need to- that love can overcome hate. Abraham had two sons. Isaac and Ishmael. Both have the blessing of Almighty God. Yet even now, the descendants are fighting and killing each other. Let us pray for a unity between Jews and Muslims and pray not just for the unity of them, but for the unity of all mankind.
“Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.”
There is a time for righteous anger. When evil is being done in the world, let us speak out against it. We must not allow the “culture of death” to speak for those that love life. Respect the unborn, the elderly, the poor. Let us clothe the naked and feed the hungry. Let us have mercy on those who have wronged us. We want the same mercy extended to us. You reap what you sow, so let us sow good grains and good fruits with the Mercy of Almighty God. We can choose to share in love and in mercy towards each other.
“If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.”
When the soul strives to be in harmony with God, then everything that you do is far better than trying to do it alone. Every day we are faced with making choices. For good or ill, our eternal salvation is based on the choices we make. We must never forget that four things will happen to us when we leave this world. Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell. Let us ask for the graces of Jesus to live each day as if we were coming home soon.
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Beware of the devil, he is a lion looking for someone to devour. Anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering. It is not easy to forgive those who violate you. But remember, no one can escape the judgment of God. Some might escape earthy justice, but the Divine justice is coming. Sooner or later your ticket will be punched, so which side of the fence will depend on your actions and your actions alone.
“No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”
Mercy is the greatest gift we can show our enemies. They might not realize it then, but sooner or later, the unconscious mind will understand that they could have suffered a much darker fate. Remember that there were two thieves on the cross with Jesus. One asked for mercy, the other one rejected and mocked God. We must pray for the love of Jesus to penetrate the hardest heart and pray for a true conversion of self.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Evil can seem overwhelming at times. It would seem that God has abandoned humanity. Yet, God is closer to you in your suffering than in your joys. That is the opportunity to help sanctify the soul and reach a new level of holiness. The harder the pain, the deeper the prayer should be. Job is a good example on how to suffer. We do not lose hope in our God and he will rescue us. Fasting and prayers are the best ways to overcome evils in our world. Let us unite with the Church Triumphant in heaven, the Church Suffering in Purgatory and the Church Militant here on earth.
If we say we walk with Christ, then, we must do as the Master has told us, “take up your cross and follow me”. Jesus have mercy on me a sinner, give me the grace to overcome my inner passions and selfishness. Help me overcome my faults and be a true disciple. We ask this in your most Holy Name, Amen!