From the Pastor – May 6, 2012

Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. (1 Jn 3:18-20)

In the Gospel this weekend Jesus speaks of being the vine, our being the branches, and the Father being the vine grower. We are called to be attached to the vine and to bear much fruit. But the Church also gives us the second reading from the First Letter of St. John, which helps us to understand what “bearing fruit” entails. It’s in loving. And loving is something that is more properly done in “deed and truth” rather than in “word or speech.” This isn’t to say that telling people you love them is a bad thing, but love doesn’t end there. The ends of love are the deeds we do, and those deeds must be done in truth.

Many examples can illustrate what it means to love in deed and in truth. I can remember being little and asked by my Mother to share some of my leftover Halloween candy with one of my sisters. Now this was certainly not my idea. She’d collected as much candy as I had, but she hadn’t been prudent with it. She’d eaten much more than I had. So why should I share mine, since I’d been saving it and rationing it for weeks? So when I had to share it, I picked one of the pieces of hard candy that I really didn’t like, and threw it at her! That was sharing and it was technically done “in deed,” but it certainly wasn’t being done in truth! Charity isn’t charity when it’s forced, only when it’s done out of our own goodness, recognizing the goodness and the needs of another person. True charity is seeing another person as a fellow child of God and opening one’s heart to him or her. It’s recognizing the human dignity of another person, accepting them as they are, and then acting in a way that respects their human dignity and their need.

Jesus told us that “whatever we do for the least of our brothers, we do for Him.” So in the act of true charity we not only come into communion with our brothers and sisters, we actually come into communion with Jesus. We make Him present in our relationships, and when we do, we are truly loving in “deed and in truth.”

One of the most important things we do as Catholics and as parishioners is to love each other in deed and truth. Nothing gives me more happiness as a pastor than to see that happening in our parish. From the greetings of peace at Mass, to the donations made to our St. Anthony poor box and our St. Vincent de Paul Society, from the many volunteers who help at the rectory distributing food and snack packs, to our outreach ministry at the Rebuild Center and in our other parish events. If you’d like to learn more about “loving in deed and in truth,” come share some time to help the many poor of our neighborhood. You’ll see bonds of love that are much deeper than word and speech.

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty