OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Often, when talking with couples journeying to their wedding day, I ask is it possible to turn love off and on. Almost universally I am told “no”. “Even when you have had an argument there is still something there.” But , says I, if that is true then your love is not something you can control so it makes no sense to promise that you will love and honour each other for the rest of your lives. Because, logically, if love is not something you can do or not do, then you cannot promise to do this (love) each and every day. We have very interesting discussions!!
The love we are talking about is not an emotional reality, a feeling of love and attraction and belonging. The love that powers a marriage down the years, a love that allows someone to love an enemy should the occasion arise (Jesus never asks us to put ourselves in harm’s way when he commands us to do good to those who hate us) is a decision, a dedication, a commitment to do good for the other person regardless of whether their behaviour warrants it or not.
This power of self-direction is what underpins St Paul command to us to put on a new self created in God’s way. We can choose how we wish to act. This is the basis of moral behaviour. Discussion about behaviour will often contain statements that say “this is how God made me therefore this is how I act.” I am attracted to those of the opposite sex, I am attracted to those of the same sex, I am attracted to youngsters, therefore I must be allowed to pursue my attractions. And the answer is no. We are not compelled to follow our attractions. We still have to judge what is correct and what is not and act in accordance with that decision. As Paul says we must aside our old self which gets corrupted by following illusory desires.
What we use to choose what is good for ourselves and for others is the person of Jesus himself. The bible and our rules and regulations will never be complete enough to give us an answer to every situation we shall face in life. What God wants us to do is to treasure our union with Jesus, God’s Word in flesh. Jesus is what we look like when we put on a new self. We remain ourselves but now there is a nourishment that flows from us which feed the hungers and slake the thirsts of those in our lives and ourselves included. Forsake Christ and we are prey to hungers and thirsts that will disfigure ourselves and find us using people for our own desires.
Father Adrian Farrelly
|Jul 31, 2015||18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 02.08.2015||Listen||Download|