The cartoonist Charles Schulz died in 2000; but his beloved characters, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the others, will never die. It surprises people that Schulz suffered throughout his life from anxiety and depression; he often reminded his friends, “There is complexity in the world”—depths of both beauty and tragedy.
In today’s gospel, the Pharisees miss the point that the commandments were made for people—not people for the commandments. In the abstract, they did love people—much like Linus who said it best: “I love mankind—it’s people I can’t stand.” They quibbled endlessly about fine points of the law.
So Jesus tells them, “You can quit arguing. Here it is in a nutshell: Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and your whole mind. Oh—and love your neighbor as you love your own self.”
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And yet—if we knew how to love God or our neighbor, why is there so much casual use (even among church-goers) of rude or hate-filled words? “I can’t stand her.” “I hate him!” “She is such an idiot.” “He’s a troll.” “What a loser!” But what if we stop tinkering with ourselves and other people as if we were broken-down cars, and instead, see ourselves and others as God sees us?
Use your imagination to picture Jesus on the Cross, gazing at certain people in your life, forgiving them and loving them in spite of their violence, dishonesty, or evil intentions. We learn that WE do not manufacture compassion…but we BECOME compassionate when we choose to let ourselves SEE God having compassion on others. This way, you won’t have to say, “I love God, it’s people I can’t stand!”
“If the soul longs for nothing else than to love its God, then don’t worry and be quite sure that this soul possesses everything, that it possesses God himself” (St. Pio of Pietrelcina)…..The Feast of All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd, certainly are occasions in our Catholic faith which provide for us an opportunity to reflect on the virtue of CHRISTAN HOPE…our call to live each day in holiness of life and the promise of eternal life when our earthly journey comes to an end. Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Listen to my homily today:
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish