In Word And In Deed – Fr. Mohan Bathineni

Fr. Mohan Bathineni’s Homily October 31, 2021

“Dear friends in Jesus, Russel Herman, a 60 year old carpenter, died in 1994 leaving a staggering will behind. It contained some praiseworthy requests. He left a billion and half dollars for the state of Illinois. 2 billion dollars for the city of East St. Louis. 2 and a half billion dollars for the National Forest System and to top off the list he left six trillion dollars to the government to help pay off the national debt. That sounds amazingly generous, but there was a small problem there. His only asset when he died was a 1983 Oldmobile. He showed his love in words, but did not and could not back it up by his deeds.
Dear friends in Jesus, of course there is nothing wrong in showing our love in our words. Simple statements like, ‘I stand by you. I care for you. I think of you. Let me know if you need anything. Don’t hesitate to call me.’ expresses our love for our fellow human beings, but what is helpful, is important is that we should stand by our words of love. If we say do not hesitate to call me and then turn off our phone for a month we are not backing up our words of love. Dear friends in Jesus, as Christians we ought to be people who love in word as well as in deed. Today’s readings remind us that we should love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and we should love our neighbor as ourself, so how do we love God and our neighbor in word and in deed? In the Gospels Jesus shows us by His example as to how we can love God and our neighbor in word and in deed. At the age of twelve He begins to talk about His father in the temple of Jerusalem. He spends all His public life telling people how good, loving, caring and forgiving His father is. We have evidence in the Gospels that Jesus talked to God in prayer every morning, every afternoon, every evening, and every night. In John 17 we see Him interceding to God His father on behalf of His disciples and every sabbath the Gospels tell us, he goes to synagogue to preach, praise and worship His God and His father. What do you think Jesus is doing by His preaching, praying, interceding, worshipping and praising? He’s showing His love for His father in word. Yes dear friends, this is how we love God in word by talking about Him, defending His teachings, talking to Him, praising Him, and interceding for other people in prayer and by worshipping Him every weekend. Today, I want you to understand that love in words has its own merits and it’s not inferior to love in deeds. By sacrificing himself in obedience to the will of His father, Jesus tells us today that we all can love God in deed by the little sacrifices we can make for His sake every day, so what are some of the sacrifices we can make for God’s sake everyday? Think of this:

  • Sacrifice your TV tie 10-15 minutes a day and spend some time reading the Bible or spiritual books.
  • Sacrifice at least one meal a week because in fasting we deny ourselves and everytime we deny ourselves we make room for God in our lives.
  • Sacrifice your sleep for about 20 minutes a day and pray the Rosary as a family.
  • Sacrifice an occasional gift and use that money in such a way to glorify God.
  • Sacrifice some time and budget of your vacation and make a retreat to grow in the knowledge of God and to deepen your relationship with Him.
  • If you can afford, sacrifice a portion of your income for evangelization.
  • Sacrifice a Hollywood movie once in a while and watch a movie of a saint.

Dear friends in Jesus, all these sacrifices may seem very small and trivial, but they help us love God in deed and they also prepare us for bigger sacrifices in future if ever we have to make them and when we love God in word and deed we cannot but love our neighbor who is God’s image and likeness says the Bible. I suggest two things when it comes to love of neighbors.

  1. Love your neighbor in word, but make sure you backup your word by your deed. I remember a story of some pious Christians who paid a visit to a sick man in this regard, to spend their time with him, they prayed with him and for him. They encouraged him in whatever way they could and when it was time to leave they told him, ‘Well brother, we are leaving now. We promise you our daily prayers.’ and the sick man replied, ‘Well I can pray for myself. You do not need to take the trouble, but if you really love me and care for me, please do my dishes and take my dog out for a walk.’ Dear friends in Jesus, we Christians should be people who love others not only in word, but also in deed.
  2. Be selfless in your love of neighbor. Love them and do not expect anything in return.

On May 2, 1962 a lady by name Gladys Kidd made a public appeal through the San Francisco Examiner. It said, ‘I make myself a slave and servant for ten years to any attorney who defends my husband and brings about his vindication.’ When St. Helena, one of the city’s best lawyers took up the case, defended her husband and cleared him of all charges, but when she offered him her service, he rejected saying, ‘It is my responsibility to defend the innocent.’ Yes dear friends, it is our responsibility as God’s children to love other people without expecting anything in return. When we do, we reflect God in and through our lives. Let us pray today that God helps us love Him as well as our neighbors in word and in deed.”