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We have been created with a capacity for love that is at least two-fold. It is a capacity to receive love and to give love. Unfortunately, modern culture is enormously centered on commodities, the buying and selling of things for pleasure or entertainment. This emphasis has caused great disservice to authentic love. Love itself has, by its redefinition into in-authentic feelings of self-gratification, become a commodity in the minds, hearts and actions of many. It has become somewhat of a self-serving exchange, even in those places where love was meant to show the image of love within the trinity – marriage, family and friendship. Karol Wojtyła, PopeSaint John Paul II, skillfully exposed this problem in his book “Love and Responsibility”. The greatest threat to authentic love is when someone is “used” in any way for our own gratification. Jesus never “used” anyone. We Christians have talked a lot about love. We have not succeeded in giving love its true meaning based on the teachings and witness of Jesus. We still need to learn how Jesus showed his love in active and creative ways. He was always ready to serve and to fight against everything that would make people objects or to allow them to suffer. So, how can we come to understand authentic love, the kind that Jesus himself taught and lived? Beyond this, how can we come to live love authentically in all aspects of our lives? Authentic love, as St John Paul later explains in Theology of the Body, has to do with “gift”. With Jesus this is shown by his gift of self on the cross. Jesus gives us the answer to the second question in the second half of John 13:34: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Authentic love is shown in every self-giving act.

With my prayers,
Fr. Kent