the new dimension of love
"You allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother." —Mark 7:12
Jesus called some religious leaders "hypocrites" (Mk 7:6) because they disregarded "God's commandment" and clung "to what is human tradition" (Mk 7:8). The human tradition Jesus immediately referred to was called "korban" — a custom by which a person prevented his financial resources from being available to help his parents (Mk 7:11).
Before Christ, monogamy was not as firmly established as we know it. Also, divorce was even worse before Christ than in our post-Christian society (see Mt 19:9-10). This meant that families were mixed and confused, and children and step-children were often not deeply loved. They in turn did not always have much respect for their parents.
Christianity changed that. Parents were honored not only as parents but also as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Even evil parents were loved, because Christ gives us the power to love our enemies. This unconditional love was extended to the whole family. Families were united in Christ in a way rarely seen before Christ. Thus, Paul cautioned emphatically: "If anyone does not provide for his own relatives and especially for members of his immediate family, he has denied the faith; he is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tm 5:8).
In Christ, let us love our parents and family in a miraculous way. Let us be one with them as Christ and the Father are one (Jn 17:21). Let our families be in Trinity-unity. Let us love as only those living in God can love. Let us love as those in whom God lives and loves. They will know we are Christians by the miraculous uniqueness of our love for parents, families, brothers, sisters, neighbors, and enemies.
Prayer: Father, free me to enter into the new dimension of love.
Promise: "Look kindly on the prayer and petition of Your servant, O Lord, my God." —1 Kgs 8:28
Praise: Although his wife has been bedridden most of their marriage, Paul's love for Gloria has saved others' marriages.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001