Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany—29 January A.D. 2017

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English


“Brethren, owe no man anything, but to love one another;
for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law.”[1]

    The passage we just heard from Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans summarizes a very important part of our Catholic Faith.  Properly understood, it tells us just about everything we need to know about the moral law.  However, in our lifetimes, the passage has been hijacked by those who don’t want to be bothered with the moral law.

    To understand this, let us first discuss how the passage is properly interpreted.  When we are told to love our neighbor, we are not talking about anything like the romantic love that might be shared by a single man and a single woman, that draws them together to have children and raise a family.  That is a very special sort of love, blessed by God with its own Sacrament:

    For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.  And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.[2]

    Saint Paul’s Epistle refers instead to the love each person in a society has for each other person.  It is not a passionate love, but instead a deep concern for each other’s physical and spiritual well-being.  Because each person in our society is a child of God, we who love God want to see the salvation of each other person.  This love for each other will surely keep us from violating the Commandments against them.  “Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet….”  Certainly we will do none of these things against someone whose physical and spiritual wellbeing we value and respect.  If it is within our means, we will instead reach out to them with the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.[3]  Not only will we not sin against them, but, by advice and good example, we will try to help them to give up any sinful behaviors they may have.

    It should be obvious that it is easier to reach out with the spiritual and corporal works in a small society than in a larger one.  One would expect that all of us members of a parish church are actively concerned for one another—but this is nearly impossible if we consider the society made up by our county, or by the State of Florida.  Nonetheless, we should have respect and concern for even total strangers insofar as not sinning against them—and sometimes we can do a good deed as well.

    The operative idea in this is that we will not sin against anyone if we consider them God’s sons and daughters and treat them with appropriate respect and concern.

    But, as I began, there are people in modern society who are eager to justify their own sins, and who will feel even more confident if they can make others sin along with them.  While they say that “there is nothing new under the Sun”[4] but I believe in the past sixty years or so we have seen a great increase in trying to justify sin in the name of love.  “All ya need is love” (and love is often spelled “L-U-V.”)

    Some of this “luv” is simply lust.  A man with no love of God or neighbor can easily convince himself that he is “in love” with any number of good looking women, married or single.  (Women have been known to act in the same way.)  But some of it is misguided compassion coupled with the avoidance of responsibility—false pity on the unwanted child or the old person suffering in the hospital, particularly if that person has some claim on our support.  And, of course the sinner feels better if he can get others to sin along with him, or even gain the approval of the whole society.

    Perhaps the biggest controversy in the Church today is the false idea that “mercy” or “loving discernment” is capable of allowing people to sin without repentance, and then to receive Sacramental Confession and Holy Communion.

    Saint Paul, himself, treats of this explicitly in his First Epistle to the Corinthians.  Speaking about the Blessed Sacrament he wrote:

[27]  Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord….

[29]  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

[30]  Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.[5]

    “Sleep” is a euphemism for death—spiritual death for sure, and perhaps physical death as well.  The results of sin (and particularly receiving the Sacraments in unrepentant sin) are infirmity, weakness, and death!  Doing this (or inducing others to do it) is not “mercy” or “love,” rather, it is unmitigated hatred—hatred for God’s impressionable child, and ultimately hatred for God Himself.

    So please understand todays Epistle the way it was intended:  We should love all of our fellow men and women for the love of God, whose children they are.  And, as long as we are truly guided by this love we will never injure them, nor will we insult God, by breaking any of His Commandments.

Owe no man anything, but love one another;
for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law.

Dei via est íntegra
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