Luke 14: 1-6 Greater Than Love
I recently asked a riddle - a question - to some of my 8th grade students. I thought the answer was obvious but it wasn’t. “What is greater than God and worse than the Devil?” They gave me many wrong answers. No one was able to figure it out. Then I asked a group of Kindergarteners the same question. You could see their little minds at work, moving their eyes back and worth, searching high and wide for the answer. It didn’t take long for one of them to shoot their hand up with the correct answer: “Nothing!”
Nothing is greater than God and worse than the Devil. But what exactly does this mean? If we were to dissect it, we would have to say that there is nothing greater than Love, than God’s love for us! Christ asked the question, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath or not?” That is, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or not? Just like them, we cannot answer this question unless we know what it means to do something good. The rich young man understood this when he asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?” The Lord responded, “Why do you ask me what is good? Only God is good!” If we truly believe in God, then we must accept his definition of what is good, for there is nothing greater than God and there is nothing greater than God’s love.
What is good? Christ is good! God is good! All the time! What usurps the Law? Only one thing: Love! What surpasses justice - goes beyond it? Love! If I love, then I have no need of Laws, not even God’s Laws! For this reason, St. Paul may boast. “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God” (Gal 2:19).
How many laws are passed in a given year? Millions! We are becoming a nation of legislation and litigation. Not too long ago, the United States graduated its “one-millionth” lawyer! We go to court for everything and anything. We bring to court our own grandparents, parents and even our own children! We legislate basic fundamental human rights! We are fast becoming a nation not of moral convictions – moral certitudes, but of legal convictions!
Man’s laws are necessary because God’s laws are not respected. But not even God’s 10 Commandments would be necessary if God’s love prevailed! The early Christian community lived by love. They shared what they possessed and loved who they possessed. The lived only one Commandment, the last commandment of the Lord, “Love one another.” By loving one another, they showered the world with love and showed their love for God. They lived what St. Paul preached so well, “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”
“How great are the works of the Lord!” (Ps 111:2) How marvelous are his deeds! Majesty and glory are his works! His justice endures forever! Gracious and merciful is the LORD! All these statements may be rephrased and redressed in one single sentence: How amazing is his Love!
Today, let us love the Lord our God with all our hearts and minds, with all our strength, and with all our soul! Let us give to the Lord our love! Let us show to the world God’s love! Let us give to the world Christ’s love! Let us show how great are the works of the Lord, now and forever! There is nothing greater than love! AMEN.
Let us pray to the Lord that our pride never get in the way. If you noticed, the Pharisees never answered the Lord's question, even though the answer was quite obvious.