Loving as Christ Loves

The following homily was given by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde on May 21 at the Mass preceding the Dedication of the Youth Center at St. Paul Chung Church in Fairfax.

How often we are told that the sign of an authentic Christian is love! And this is true! However, what is essential is not only knowing that we are to love but also knowing how we are to love. Jesus tells us and shows us how! Jesus tells us in today's Gospel, "As the Father loves me, so I also love you!" How does the Father love Jesus? He loves Jesus by standing by His Son through death to life, by His faithfulness to Jesus! The clearest proof of the Father's faithfulness is His raising His Son Jesus to new and eternal life.

So then, Jesus loves us the same way, standing by us in everything and being faithful to us. He remains with us! Yes, He is present in the Church, through the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, and also through the teaching office of the Church. He is present within each of us, in prayer, the Eucharist and the other sacraments. Jesus is our daily companion.

Above all, He shows us His faithfulness in His dying and rising. The crucifix is the clearest sign of this, and the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the re-living of this faithfulness. We are to love the way Jesus does, by standing by God and by one another. We can stand by God in prayer, in the Sacraments, and in living within the Church and loving the Church. We can stand by one another through mutual support, forgiveness, patience, and never giving up on each other.

This kind of love can exist only when we remain united to Jesus. Remember, He told us, "Remain in my love," and "I am the vine, you are the branches." When we love the way Jesus loves, we do bear fruit. The fruits we bear are justice, peace and hope within our families and parishes, our communities and society.

Jesus is the first and best model of how to love. Faithful disciples imitate Him; we call these faithful disciples saints. Your patron saint, Saint Paul Chung, loved the way Jesus loves. He showed that love through a desire that the gospel be proclaimed, that Jesus be made known as Lord and Savior. He established the Catholic Church once more in Korea after the persecution by Shin-Yu. St. Paul Chung did this by gathering the scattered Korean Catholics, seeking the help of priests from Beijing, and writing a document explaining the Faith and why the Catholic Church was not a threat to the Korean government. In the end, he died a martyr while a student in the seminary. We see the love in his life by his actions as well as his words. We must then love like Saint Paul Chung, who imitated the love of Jesus.

One way we can show this love is to pass on the precious gift of our Catholic Faith to everyone, especially to the young. This includes not only doctrine — the teachings of the Church, but also discipleship — the way the members of the Church live. As a parish, you have grown in the last twenty years, from 1,100 members to 5,200. Your new Youth Center will be an instrument for forming youth in the Catholic Faith in body, mind and soul. It is a tangible expression of your desire to love the way Christ loves!

May Christ's love embrace us and strengthen us so that we remain in His love, loving one another the way He loves us and bearing love's fruits: Justice, peace and hope.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde

By

Bp. Paul S. Loverde is the bishop of the Diocese of Arlington in Virginia.

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