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.”
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
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.
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.
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”
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:
 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….
 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth
and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
 Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you,
and many sleep.
“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
Owe no man
anything, but love one another;
for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law.