Audio from Saturday night: https://docs.google.com/a/stpius.net/file/d/0B1r8CMMH17Y0U0xkOGtaVmRUQzBOY09La2o5ZGNLU1hZcldR/edit?usp=docslist_api
This is personal. “Alright, now it's personal” means they are now intensely committed to something because it is starting to have serious direct effects on them: whether their reputation, their relationships, their livelihood, or perhaps their very life. We don't get in-between a mama bear and her cub because then it gets personal. When I was a kid, we had a raccoon living in our garage one summer, and when my dad reached his hand into that cardboard box without knowing, wow talk about personal!
This is exactly what God is talking about in the first reading today: He takes us personally – all of us! But especially today, the weakest in society: the orphans, the widows, the aliens (not meaning martians but rather foreigners). God says if we mistreat them, things are going to get personal, “for”, The Lord says, “I am compassionate.” God has united Himself to us, His people, and if we mess up His Name among the nations, He will take it personally. This should be a big wake-up call to all of us for social justice: God's wrath flares up when He sees injustice. So too should we have a burning desire to set things right and take calm and prudent steps that get us closer, one day at a time, to true peace, as newly Blessed Paul VI once said: “If you want peace, work for justice!”
Today in another showdown between Jesus and the religious authorities of His day, we get a glimpse into the heart of religion. What is it all about? In many ways, a master teacher is proven by the ability to make complex things simple without losing the essence of them. An architect is no good if he can't explain to me what makes a good roof: “it keeps the weather out and doesn't fall apart.” Jesus today answers “what is religion all about?” And even very young children can understand this anwer: Love God, and Love your neighbor as if they were yourself.
That's all folks! If it's that simple, it sure makes us look silly for how often we make a poor job of it, huh?!
Then Jesus adds an interesting phrase at the end, and he uses the Gk. Kremetai 'hang' “On these two commandments hang the whole law and the prophets (i.e., the entire Jewish faith tradition).”
Now I'm sure you've seen, a few action movies, and in so many of them there is a time where someone is over a big drop, and the only thing keeping him from falling is the ledge or rope he's holding onto, or even better the hand of another person who reached them at the last minute. Without that grip, down they go, so long. Well, that is the image that Jesus is using when he says “on these two commandments hang the whole law and the prophets.”
Love God, and Love your neighbor as if they were yourself. And if we don't God will take it personally. So we should take it personally.
Our relationship with God should be personal. It has to be more than Sundays. We have to both give God space in the home of our heart, and also spend time in that home with Him. God has, in fact, already carved a home for us in the Lord's Sacred Heart. Do we visit Him by prayer and sacrifice?
Secondly, our love of others should be personal. Do we sacrifice ourselves for others? There is a great almost-saint that Paul VI himself promoted, named Pier Giorgio Frassatti, and I'd love to tell you all about him but I don't have enough time: Fr. Bill would come shut off my microphone! So, go to the parish website, click on the word “homily” at the top, then click on my name. Then you can listen to another priest's account of Pier Giorgio (especially around 8min15sec). He's a wonderful young man of an upper class Italian family whose love for God showed itself so clearly in love for neighbor. It was personal for Blessed Pier Giorgio because He saw how God, in His Son death on the cross, made it personal first. Let us make it personal, too, and put the love of this Eucharist into practice.