Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Ten Commandments given by our Lord to His people, the people of Israel, through Moses, His servant, written on the two stones that would bear the very writings of the Lord, the Commandments that He wanted His people to follow for all eternity. The Ten Commandments carry the basic tenets of what being the people and children of God is all about, that is indeed summarised by Christ as the commandments of love.
For the commandments in the Ten Commandments, when looked deeper into, would show that mankind need to love God with all their attention, their hearts, minds, and soul, and with all their strength, that they will obey and worship no other god but the Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Automatically too, they should honour the Holy Name of their God, YHVH, the God who AM, and whose Name has also been revealed to us, Jesus, the Name above every other name, and the Name upon which all knees will bend, be it on earth, in heaven, or in hell.
Loving God with all our hearts and our strength is important, but that is just one half of the entire law and commandment. That is because as Christ had taught His disciples and which we read in the Gospels, we must also love our brothers and sisters, all our neighbours, fellow mankind, just as we have loved our God and ourselves, in the same way, giving to them our love, care, and compassion. That is the other half of the commandments, that will make perfect our observation of God’s laws and commandments.
To love our brethren and our fellow men means to give unconditional love to others, especially to those who are starved of love, to those who hunger for love and compassion, and those who are in the midst of suffering and persecution. But this is not all that love is about, because love is about giving ourselves not just to those whom we love, or just to those who we think need our love, but to love is also to embrace our enemies, those who hate us, those who persecute us, and those who did evil things to us. Love means to be able to forgive them from their faults to us, and to embrace them as our fellow brothers and sisters of the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is why the Ten Commandments also included commands such as not to kill nor to covet one another’s goods and properties, as these are likely to be borne out of animosity that arose between two parties in the first place. Hatred leads to animosity, and then it may result in something that hurt one or both parties, or even kill, in the case of murder. The Lord wants all of us to respect one another and let go of our hatred and our animosity, replacing them instead with love, the kind of love that Jesus Christ had shown us, on the cross at Calvary.
For Jesus Himself had forgiven His enemies, the Pharisees and the chief priests, as well as the people who cried for His death. He embraced them from the cross, and His Blood is poured down the cross to wash the sins of all mankind, because He redeemed all men, without any exceptions. He also embraced His enemy, Saul, the reaper of early Christians, who hunted many people who believed in Christ and tortured them. Christ embraced Saul with His love, and made him into the greatest instrument of His works in this world, from an enemy into the most valiant defender of the faith.
We have to nurture love, not hatred; peace, not violence; hope, not despair; light, not darkness; and faith in God; not in Satan and his devices and temptations. We have to plant the seeds of love, hope, and faith in our youths, in our own families, within our circle of friends, and within our respective societies. For actions not done in love, and life lived without love is empty, and neither does any actions or life that are not bound by hope and faith. To be loving is key to achieving salvation.
Today we commemorate the feast day of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our God, that is St. Joachim and St. Anne, the grandparents of Jesus Christ our Lord. They are role models for all families, Christian families in particular, in how to bring God’s love into our homes. They brought up the mother of our Lord from her infancy to be the blessed person our mother Mary came to be. They cared for her since her Immaculate Conception inside her mother’s womb, the womb of St. Anne.
The care and love that St. Joachim and St. Anne had shown to Mary, the mother of our Lord, is replicated in her care for Jesus, whom Mary cared since His humble birth at the stables in Bethlehem, protecting Him from King Herod and those who would wish to harm Him. She accompanied Him through His childhood and teenage years, being revealed that Jesus is truly the Son of God when He was left behind in the Temple at the age of twelve. Mary accompanied Christ through His ministries and eventually until His death, and resurrection.
All these are made possible by the tender love and care given to Mary herself by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, who showed her the meaning of love, compassion, and faith in God, that she herself become role models for all of us, the mother of God, and the greatest among all saints and apostles of Christ. St. Joachim and St. Anne are truly role models for us, and we should indeed follow in their footsteps, as well as the footsteps of Mary, the mother of our Lord, towards Christ, who longs to welcome us back into His embrace.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us renew our commitment to our Lord today, and also to renew our commitment to love, that is to love everyone, without exception, even to those who hate us the most and those who wished for our misfortune and death. Let us be gracious and courageous to forgive and to embrace those who do not have love in them, that in doing so, we will obey the commandments of the Lord, as once given to Moses, His servant so that the people of Israel will know the Lord’s laws, and so may we too, obey the same law, that is the law of love.
May the Lord bless us all with abundance of graces and blessings, and plant the seeds of love, hope, and faith within us, that they may blossom, and through our words, actions, and deeds, may we spread love, joy, and hope to all mankind, bringing everyone closer to God who is our Lord and Father. St. Joachim and St. Anne, pray for us too. Amen.