31 October, Sunday — What is love?

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deu 6:2-6
Heb 7:23-28
Mk 12:28-34

“You must love your neighbour as yourself.”

Is love all about romance portrayed on films?

Movies tends to portray love as romance. Think of romantic dinners, romantic vacations, physical and emotional intimacy. Even Disney is not spared. Female characters often have to be portrayed together with a male counterpart in a whirlwind romance, cue Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Anna in Frozen.

But is love just romance? Or something more?

As a child, naïve me used to think that love was something merely physical, I probably watched too many movies and films as a child and adolescent. During the pre-COVID era, I used to wonder how my ideal boyfriend and husband would look like and behave, how he would show his love to me, how we could spend our time every day sitting under the stars or taking a stroll along East Coast Park. I even tried to find love on dating apps (I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone! There are a lot of fake profiles out there on the apps), but I could not find any boyfriend.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic came, and I was struggling to accept the fact that I am still single, while my relatives and friends were able to update their Facebook statuses to ‘engaged’ or ‘married’, and they had their boyfriends, fiancés and husbands to care for them during this difficult period. I was envious of them, no doubt. I really wanted a boyfriend, so there was this guy that I really liked, and I could tell he liked me as more than a friend, but not as a girlfriend yet! I tried to ask him (twice) if we could progress into the next stage of our friendship. Sadly, he rejected me, and we drifted off soon after, as we realized that we had grown out of each other.

I began to do some research into what love really meant, and I recall 1 Corinthians 13. The phrases that stood out to me were, “love does not envy…it is not self-seeking…Love never fails.” I realized that it is not love if we were to find a partner just because everyone else has one; it is not love if we are seeking to find a partner so that we can boast to our family and friends about our new update in life. Instead, through these two years of soul searching, I have come to accept that love isn’t just about having physical or emotional intimacy. Instead, love is selfless, caring and being empathetic to people around us in our life. People who we come across in our daily life, regardless of whether they are poor, rich, single, married, engaged or in a complicated relationship. Even if I may not be able to find a life partner, what is more important is being able to show others God’s love and bring others to Him, so that they can partake in His love too, and experience the joy of being His children in one big Catholic community.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Brenda Khoo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to spread Your love to our neighbours. Sometimes, we meet difficult people; please give us Your grace to not give up hope and help us to continue shining Your light of love through us to them too. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank You for always loving us as your sons and daughters, no matter who we are, and for never giving up on us sinners. Amen.

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