In the First Reading, John tells us: Let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. John speaks of love as coming from God. Love is not based on an emotion. It is not tolerating evil. John tells us what love is: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might life through him. Love is an act of the will. It is giving of one’s self so the other person can live.
Many today accuse those who speak the truth in terms of life, morality and human dignity as haters. Yet, when asked how they define love or hate, they are not able to define it. This proves they do not know what they are using words without knowing what they mean. Scripture clearly says: God is love. Love is a gift from God. If it is a gift, it is good and it gives life. When we tolerate evil, or remain silent when we see something evil, we are not acting in love. God sent his Son so people may have life through him. Our acts of love must give life. If it leads people to hell, we are not acting in love.
We see this in today’s Gospel, where Jesus saw the crowd and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. The compassion of Jesus leads him to teach many things to those who were without a shepherd. Those without a shepherd are the lost, those seeking shelter and food. These are not only those why physically hunger, but are spiritually hunger. Which is why Jesus taught them because they needed a shepherd. Jesus shows, we need to teach the truth to those who are lost, before we feed them, because the eternal salvation of souls matters more than their physical hunger.
The Church must teach the truth first before she serves the material needs of people, because the Church was set up by Christ, for the salvation of souls. Social justice while commendable, is NOT evangelization. Working for social justice alone will not save souls. Feeding the poor alone, will not save souls. If we do not tell people that Jesus is Lord, what Truth will people based on their idea of justice? Justice must be based on the Truth of Jesus and not on the opinions of any government or person. Otherwise, we will treat all social issues with the same weight, such as what we hear, that illegal immigration and poverty are the same as abortion and euthanasia. In this case, life matters more than any other social issue.
The Gospel acclamation tells us: The Lord sent me to bring good news to the poor and freedom to prisoners. The poor, first and foremost, need to hear the Good News, that God cares for them, that God loves them and God will bring justice, if they trust in him. If we do good works, but neglect to teach about God, then there will still be no hope for them, because if there is no God, there is no hope.
Lord, help me to see what is important. Let me see the Truth about love and hate. Let me see and stand for love, to give myself, even if it means difficulties, persecution and hatred against me. Let me lead others to you, so they may come to know of your love for them. Use me to give life to others, for the glory of your name.