For the complete Sunday readings click here.
On Cinco de Mayo, I made a Tres Leche cake for my family. Tres Leche is a cake soaked in “3 milks.” It is super sweet and so good. One of my daughters couldn’t stop gushing about it. Finally she just said, “I love this cake.”
We use the word “love” to describe our appreciation for a number of different things. I love cake. I love my friends. I love my wife. All three statements mean different things. In other languages, they have different words that mean different things, but all of which get translated to love.
The great Christian author C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves in which he describes four distinct ways we use the word Love.
The first love is Affection. This is the love that says, “I really like and appreciate this person.” When my kids do something that makes me proud, I love them in this way. This love is emotional and bubbles up within us as a response to the situation at hand.
The second love is Friendship. This is the love that says, “I like this person because we get along and share similar interests or goals.” We often share friendship with people just because of proximity. Being with someone can bring about friendship. A good example is the friendships you have at work or school, but don’t see those same people socially.
The third love is Eros. This is the love that says, “I am attracted to you romantically.” This kind of love is the butterflies in the stomach and increased heart rate just because we are in the same room as our romantic interest. This love draws us closer and closer to the object of our love.
The fourth love is Charity. This is the love that says, “I want what is best for the other person. I am willing to sacrifice my own wants and needs so that the other person gets what is best for them.” This is the most satisfying love because it is the love God has for us, and we are called to live out. This love is a choice and is the highest form of love. This is the love we promise to have for our spouse on our wedding day. This is the love Jesus shows us on the cross when he died for us.
The love that the gospel and the second reading talk about is Charity. The love we are called to have for each other is self-sacrificial love. Jesus says his commandment is to “love one another as I love you.” Jesus isn’t saying we have to enjoy or like one another. Jesus is saying we have to choose to do what is best for one another.
We are called to love like Jesus. And here is the cool part – we were made to do this because we were made in the image and likeness of God.
Obeying God is loving God because it recognizes that God wants what is best for us at all times and will always love us perfectly. The questions these readings leave us with are: 1. Do you believe God loves you/wants what is best for you? 2. Do you love God? 3. When do you practice Charity/self-sacrificial love?
Read the scripture for Mass this weekend to find out more about Love.