Love Is Excessive – Fr. Nicholas Ashmore

Fr. Nicholas Ashmore’s Homily July 13, 2019

“I left home when I was 18 and entered Seminary immediately at that age and so I would only come back home once or twice a year and at that my week long trips were generally filled with trips with my friends, coffee with acquaintances, dinners with other people and so I would often feel like I would go home to see my family and yet I didn’t actually get to spend much time with them, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t feel loved because every morning on that first day back I’d wake up, rub the sand out of my eyes, walk down to the kitchen and open the fridge and there it was, a container of Greek yogurt.  Now my mom doesn’t like Greek yogurt, but she knows that I do and so this was her little way on that first morning back of making an extra gesture to say, ‘I love you Nicholas. I’m glad you’re back.’ Was it necessary? No, she was going to feed me throughout the whole week. I wasn’t starving. No, she was going to spend time with me occasionally, but it was that little extra that her love moved her to make. One could say it was the two extra coins of her love.

In our Gospel today we see the parable that is so familiar to us, the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Now this Samaritan should impress each and every one of us because seeing this man he goes out of his way and has incredible mercy upon him.  He spends time with him. He heals and pours oil and wine over his wounds. He is with him in his suffering. That is incredible in and of itself and nobody would say that by that point when he had brought him to the inn and spent time with him that he hadn’t done enough.  The Good Samaritan by that point probably could feel pretty good about himself. ‘I’d done what the Lord asked me to do.’ Yet there was something extra that love moved him to do. Something within him knew that merely caring for this other man whom he didn’t know was not nearly enough.  He would also give him two extra coins and these two extra coins were totally unnecessary. All justice had been fulfilled. These were two extra coins of love and why does love demand two extra coins? Well simple, because love is excessive.  Consider that with me for a moment.  Consider a young man about ready to propose to his fiance.  Now he’s looking through the ring catalog and does he want some little tiny diamond stud that someone can barely see if they squint at it just right?  No, he wants the biggest baddest ring he can get? Or think about a daughter who is making a Christmas gift for her parents. Does she just two or three extra little dots of glitter on it?  Oh no, every parent knows that she wants to pour the whole bottle. Why? Because she wants to make it pretty for mommy and daddy? Or consider and Grandpa who is taking his children out for ice cream.  Does he make them only get the little tiny kiddie cone? No, he lets them get a big one! Why? Because his love is excessive and this is true on the natural level, but it’s also true on the divine level.  Think about this for a moment, God the Father loves Jesus Christ, God the Son so much and Jesus, the Son, loves God the Father so much that from this love, this bond of union between the two comes forth, proceeds we say in theology, a third person, the Holy Spirit.  Why? Not because of justice, but because of love. Love is excessive and their love is so excessive, their love is so complete that from that union comes forth life and this is true also in the act of redemption for when we were like the man left on the side of the road, ravaged by original sin, kicked down, hit, left bruised and bloody by the snare of the evil one, what did Jesus do?  Jesus came down and took human form and if that wasn’t enough he went into his mother’s womb and if that wasn’t enough he was born in a stable and if that wasn’t enough he lived obediently to his parents for thirty years. That itself would be sufficient, right? Everybody would say at that point that God had done enough, but God’s love is excessive for each and every one of us and so he went and died on the cross for each and every one of our sins.  God’s love gave the two extra coins and because of that we are here today.

This is a call for each and every Christian.  We are called to have excessive love. We are called to first of all, as it says in the first part of the Gospel, to love God excessively which means to do more than what is expected of us.  ‘Yeah the Church requires that we go to Mass every week, go to confession every year…lots of other things…fasts, give, provide for the Church’s needs, but we should want to do so much more for God.  We should want to spend time with him in prayer. We should want to spend time with him in sacred scripture, pray the Rosary as a family, whatever it may be. Why? Because our love for God should be excessive and further we’re also called to love our neighbor in an excessive way.  We shouldn’t only just put up with them, but also genuinely love them in their need. When they’re difficult to bear with, do we choose to just turn our shoulder or do we turn towards them and look them in the eye and show them your excessive love? Does the world see the excessive love of Christians or does it see a community that’s sufficient, a community that does enough?  My brothers and sisters, the Gospel today preaches to us that we ought to have an excessive love and we do that by the little things. We do that by giving our two extra coins whatever that may be, whatever that day, each one of us knows what that two extra coins, if we give that little extra we will fall in love with God even more and we will discover the path to eternal life that that man who wished to justify himself was seeking.  We will find Jesus in every moment of our day.”