Bottom line: The Appeal is a form of organized love.
We just heard Jesus say, "This is my command: love one another." Pope Benedict has an encyclical about love that I find helpful. He makes three surprising moves.
First, he speaks quite favorably about the love called eros. It's a type of love that seems to impose itself. It doesn't require great forethought. It just happens: The love of parent for their child or a young man for his beloved. They make a pledge of fidelity that seems irresistible. Their love will last forever and by comparison all other loves seems pale.
After saying good words about eros, Pope Benedict makes a second move. He observes that as powerful as eros love seems, it has a tendency to wane and even become destructive. Few people fight more fiercely than those who have fallen out of love. Pope Benedict shows that eros love needs purification by a different kind of love: agape. While eros is an ascending love - it rise from within - agape is a descending love. It come from above. As St. John tells us, "In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us." We cannot love God unless he first loves us. Ultimately we cannot love each other - in a way that lasts - unless we accept God's love. When a couple attends Mass and prays together, their marriage tends to last and flourish. Agape, the descending love, makes possible self-giving and self-sacrifice.
After explaining the two loves - eros and agape - Pope Benedict makes a third surprising move. He insists on "organized love".* I know it sounds jarring to put "love" and "organized" together. We live in a romantic age that values spontaneity. Still organization has its place. It's when individuals and families band together to effectively help others. A few weeks ago we heard how the early Christians voluntarily entrusted part of their earnings to the apostles - so they could help those in need. That tradition continues today in the Annual Catholic Appeal. The Appeal is a form of organized love. This Sunday I have asked a young family to witness to how the Appeal benefits them and how they see our rebate project: a renovated playground for our parish. Please give your full attention to _________________________________.
*"The Church can never be exempted from practising charity as an organized activity of believers, and on the other hand, there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love." (Deus Caritas Est #29)
From Archives (Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Easter Season 2018*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru