“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – these are the words with which Jesus begins this Sunday’s Gospel. We know that we are called to love our Lord. But how can we do this if we do not see Him and we do not hear Him? We can see, hear, and interact with those we love on earth. So, one can think that this commandment is not realistic and is a product of God’s pious longing. Our culture is infected by pop culture which understands love mostly as a sentimental, emotional movement of the heart. People think that they love because they feel emotions towards another person: a spouse, fiancé, girlfriend or boyfriend, parents or children. When the emotions disappear, so does the “love.”
God teaches us something entirely different: authentic love binds us with other people not on an emotional level, but in a very different way. From this perspective, the love of God means keeping his commandments with all our power and strength. In this way, we truly love God even when we have no emotions towards Him. Loving God means keeping His commandments and, in this way, being connected with Him independent of the fluctuations of our emotions. As a result, this love can last forever and grow.
We can apply this same truth to our human relationships. Today, we celebrate Mother’s Day. Although we are connected with our mothers on an emotional level, there are other more important elements which surpass this kind of connection. So we can authentically love our mothers (or fathers) even if we do not have any extraordinary emotions towards them. However strange this may sound, it’s true. We testify that we love our mothers when we are with them, we are part of their lives, we support them, and we pray for them (no matter how we may feel).
Dear Mothers: on this special day, may God bless you for your love and your dedication. May God grace you with His joy and peace. Continue to be witnesses of God’s true love on earth.
Last Sunday, some parishioners and I had the opportunity to meet Fr. Andrew Mikucki, Director of Caritas of Lomza Diocese in northeast Poland. He shared about the enormous charitable works that they provide to help Ukrainian families who escaped the war in Ukraine. He personally visited every Catholic diocese in Ukraine, meeting with their bishops and asking for ways in which Caritas can help them.
Caritas transferred several tens of thousands of dollars in aid, in addition to many transports of food and other basic necessities. Since there are over two million Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Caritas is helping them with finding employment, lodging, education and addressing medical needs.
You may remember that last year our parish raised and donated over $15,000 to support the efforts of Caritas Poland. This year, we also gave over $4,000 (including one donor giving $2,000) to help Caritas to organize aid for the victims of the catastrophic earthquake. Thank you once again for your generosity in supporting those in need.
Fr. Mark Jurzyk
From the Caritas website:
“Caritas Poland has already donated $155,000 – of which $30,000 has been allocated to the purchase of 1,200 mattresses, which have been transferred to 13 shelter and assistance points in Aleppo, Syria.
Caritas Poland supports partners on the spot, such as Caritas Syria and Hope Center in Syria, who distribute food or material supplies (blankets, mattresses) in churches and shelters.
Since 2016, more than 6,000 families in Aleppo have received monthly cash support. This allows them to meet their most pressing needs, such as buying medicines, clothes and food, or paying rent. So far, almost $20 million has been transferred to those in need under the Family-to-Family program – not only in Syria, but also in Lebanon, Iraq and the Gaza Strip.”