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제목 Concering Fraternal Charity - 12thPent(2019-09-01)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2019-09-03


Concerning Fraternal Charity -  12thPent (2019 -09-01)


There are many mentions throughout the liturgical year concerning fraternal charity, but todays gospel allows an opportunity to treat of this very important commandment of Our Lord.


This Sunday marks the beautiful parable of the Good Samaritan and presents the virtue of fraternal charity as a distinctive sign of the Christian religion. We will look the parable in its literal meaning and learn from the very deep lesson of mercy and love. The Church as a good mother always reminds her children of those things that are of most importance. During the year, fraternal charity comes up many times. One spiritual writer remarks that the Church is constantly reminding us that fraternal charity is what St. John the Apostle, the beloved disciple of Christ, would always remind during his Apostolate. By tradition, he would always exhort his hearers to love one another by saying often “Little children, love one another”. And then he would remind the faithful that “It is the command of the Lord, if it is fulfilled, it is enough”. The Church does the same throughout the year, never tiring to remind the faithful about fraternal charity. We can not take these reminders for granted thinking that it is not necessary. On the contrary the more that the Church stresses a particular point then the more importance must be given.


Our Lord makes us reflect on fraternal charity in a beautiful and forceful manner so that we can grasp the seriousness of the commandment. First, there is the Sermon on the Mount which contains the basic precepts for the Kingdom of God. In the Eight Beatitudes there are two beatitudes treating specifically of fraternal charity. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy,” and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Whenever Our Lord speaks about the fulfillment or perfection of the God’s law, it is concerned with fraternal charity, love of neighbor. St. Paul writes concerning this: “Love is the fulfillment of the law”.


In the Sermon on the Mount, Our Lord shows that the commandments of the Old Law are more perfect and binding in the New Law. Our Lord even points out that in the Old Covenant, the fifth commandment reads: Thou shalt not kill.” In the new covenant this commandment says; “Whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgement”. It does not even mention killing, one cannot hate his brother, nor despise nor to treat in ill manner. In St. John’s Gospel, is written “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer” and no murderer can have part in Heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus goes on to say: “You have heard it said ‘ An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you to resist evil; but if one strike on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other.” This sermon by Our Lord proves that fraternal charity has a very special place in the teachings of Our Lord.


Elsewhere in the Gospel of St. John Our Lord instructs us “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for another.” (John 13:34) The Pharisees had marked the love that Our Lord had for Lazarus outside the tomb before He raised him “See how He love him.”


Another deep impression that Our Lord wishes to leave on our souls is the scene of the Last Judgement, by being instructed on how we will be judged. He does not enumerate the different vices, lying, theft murder or adultery but on how one practices fraternal charity. He will judge us on whether we were able to see Christ in our neighbor, whether we were able to love our neighbor and to perform acts of mercy for our neighbor but out of love for Christ. Our Lord reminds us “Whatsoever you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done to me.”


We see the perfect example of Our Lord, How He had a great love for sinners for those who are poor and afflicted. “I am the Good Shepherd and I lay my life down for my sheep” and “Greater love than this no man has than to lay down his life for His friends.” Then on the cross, Our Lord prays for executioners: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Incredible, asking pardon doe the very executions at the moment of execution. At the Last Supper, He performs the work of a slave and washes the feet of the disciples. The last testament that Our Lord gives to His disciples before His death, “I have given an example that you may do what I have done to you.” It is striking to hear these beautiful statements on fraternal charity and then to really see the true ideal of a Catholic to follow this commandment of God to love our neighbor as ourselves.


Fr. Fortin