What is Christianity about? (6EB-18)
Christianity is not about “being a good person”, but about love. In Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” When we encounter Christianity not as a let of burdensome laws but as an encounter with a person, God, Jesus Christ, who is love incarnate. If we really encountered this person our life would be definitively changed to look less like a normal American citizen and more like Mother Teresa. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us” (1 John 4:10). St. Paul writes, “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The starting point is not good behavior, but that God loves us. The world doesn’t know love and often we don’t either. The philosophical definition of love is “To love is to will the good of another” (CCC 1766). Jesus tells us and shows us “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Human love is broken, God’s love is what changes the world. Christianity is not about “being a good person” but about “Love” who is a person, may we never forget this truth. 5/6/18
I am including HERE the 10:30am homily that has the gospel and slight elaboration on a few things. I thought it was different enough to include it. I elaborated more on how we learn about love from parents and others in a broken way. How do we learn perfect love? From God, even Jesus learned his love from His Father and it is that love that he received that he lives on the cross, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9). I also elaborated more on responding to the worlds answer to do whatever you want in love. St. Augustine (354-430) is quoted with saying “love, and do what you will” when preaching on 1 John 4:4-12 (our 2nd reading today) (here is the sermon, he says it in paragraph 8). He says this in the truest form of love where we are totally conformed to God and His love, not in the worldly way of love consisting solely in emotion, desire, selfishness, and pleasure. If it is a purified form of love all things become properly ordered and you only choose what is right.
“if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties”, then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper”, but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbor and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me. The saints—consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta—constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbor from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its real- ism and depth in their service to others. Love of God and love of neighbor are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. No longer is it a question, then, of a “commandment” imposed from without and calling for the impossible, but rather of a freely-bestowed experience of love from within, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others. Love grows through love.” (Deus Caritas Est 18)