This weekend is Saturday the 5 and Sunday the 6 September, beginning the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.
The Choir of Holy Sepulchre Church London sings ‘Present Yourselves as a Living Sacrifice’, by James O’Donnell.
This weekend’s reading is from St Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
In a time of economic uncertainty, the last thing many of us need is Paul speaking about debt. We are encouraged to avoid debt and in ideal circumstances, might be happy to claim that indeed we do ‘owe no one anything’. Remember though, that Paul is writing about the spiritual world; spiritual wisdom (and foolishness), spiritual law and debt.
Often, in life and faith, we find reassurance in trying to follow the rules. The commandments and the law lay out a response for every situation. They confirm where we are. But is that enough? Consider the commandments. Do they give you everything you need to live well?
The act of love not only obeys but fulfils the law. There are many quotes attributed to St Mother Teresa about this active love. One is this. “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.” And Mother Teresa’s own life suggested, there is no ‘enough’ to love. We listen to the reading again.
How does Paul’s definition of debt speak to me? Where is love in my relationships with others? With God? Are the times when I am tempted to say ‘enough’? Invite the Lord to be with you as you consider these thoughts and feelings.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.