Christ calls us to a mutual relationship

| Father Toulee Peter LY | February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments


In our readings for this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are reminded what a great gift freedom is in our lives.

It is a gift received from our loving God. It allows us to choose one thing over another; and in the particular case with God, the freedom to choose to respond to God’s love — or not.

I believe most everyone will agree that you can’t force one person to love another person. No mutual love can come of that, only a forced relationship. A mutual relationship requires the freedom to be involved. One person needs to engage and continue to have interactions with another person, which should inevitably draw each into one another’s lives.

Through these exchanges, each person can begin to learn what the other person likes or dislikes; this strengthens the relationship because it helps each person know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in that relationship. After a period of time with each other, the rules have now been set and each is able to interact freely, since each person now knows what the expectations are for the relationship to work out.

In the same way, our Lord desires to have a relationship with us. He tells us this in many and varied ways: “You know that I know and love you, and I want you to know me so that you can love me in return. Will you respond to me and help build this relationship that I desire to have with you?”

That is the truth of the matter; the Lord continuously calls out to us and waits for us to respond to his invitation. And like any relationship that we have with another person, there are rules to this invitation, which he already has given to us.

What are those rules? Well, there are the Ten Commandments and all that the prophets taught, our traditions and last but not least, the lessons Jesus, who IS God, gave to us and reminds us, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Mt 5:17).

My brothers and sisters in Christ, if we truly desire freedom in our lives, in our relationships with others and with ourselves, in its purest sense, we need to first remember who we are, children of God, and what we were made for, heaven. Once we know this, learning why we as Christians have so many “rules” and understanding them is important. They aren’t meant to oppress us, or bind us to some tyrant, but rather, free us so we can be fully alive with ourselves and each other.

When we choose not to do that, we not only hurt God, our Father, but we hurt each other. Jesus summarizes this later in the Gospel of Matthew by saying that the first and the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole being. The second commandment is like it, to love our neighbors as ourselves (cf: Mt 22:34-40). These rules help us to do this.

There is a price to pay for freedom: rules to live by, so that we in turn can be fully alive.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Father Toulee Peter Ly is parochial administrator of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood.

Sunday, February 16
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Category: Sunday Scriptures