HOMILY
LOVE OR PERISH

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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“God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

The essence of God is love: to love and be loved.

“God said, “Let us make man in our own image in the likeness of our selves.” (Gen.1:20) Thus man, made in the image of God, is created: to love; to love and be loved.

When you buy a new car you receive an owner’s manual which gives instructions to get the best use of the car. The following is the owner’s manual our Creator has given me to insure I get the most out of my life.

"You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40)

“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Jo.13)

“Love and then do what you will.” (St. Augustine) Because if you love, you will do what is right. Justice is the foundation of love. Once you have fulfilled the demands of justice then you are in the field of love. Therefore if you love you will do justice, you will do what is right.

Love is my origin, my mission and my destiny. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, what is your state in life, what is your job, what is the multitude or magnitude of the deeds you do - what matters, and without which nothing else matters, is that you love. Love is the divine alchemy that transforms the most insignificant task into spiritual gold.

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor.13: 1-3) Love is the criterion of Jesus, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 35)

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you so you also should love one another.” (John 13: 34) Love is the irrefutable, instantly verifiable sign of Christian identity. This is how the first Christians were identified, “See how they love one another.” (Tertullian, Apology, 39.6)

Love or perish. This holds not only for individuals but for the human race. The history of the human race from Cain and Able to the latest newscast is “man’s inhumanity to man.”

The world is a global village. Either we learn to live in love with other nations, races and cultures or we perish. Nothing is more pragmatic or relevant today than love. “What the world needs now is love, just love.”

© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved