Return To Baseline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What is our baseline?  

A couple of years ago, I had an internship at St. Mary’s Hospital and was able to participate in rounds, seeing patients on the floor I was assigned.  One of the phrases I learned right away was that a patient is at baseline, or patient’s numbers are returning to baseline. Basically, this means their numbers have returned to normal.

Moses wants to return the Israelites to their baseline in our first reading.  They received the Law years ago, but now it has become familiar. It no longer means much to them anymore, so Moses is calling them back to the Law and to God. Return to the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. Return to your baseline. 

Our readings this weekend give us the baseline for Christians. They tell us what needs to be present at minimum in every Christian. This is the baseline: 1) confess there is a God and that we are not him, 2) to be known and loved by God and to know and love God in return, and 3) to love our neighbor as God loves us. 

Everything starts with confessing that there is a God, and we are not him. This is so important for us today. If we recognize that there is a God who created us and this world, then we will also recognize that God created this world with order and purpose. If we do not, then we think we are our own masters or our own gods… this is fundamental to know that we are not god.

Our confession that there is a God does not bring us into a master – servant relationship. Instead, we are called to experience a loving relationship with this God. This is the greatest gift. All of us have a desire to know and to be known by someone. What greater gift is there in this life than to be known and to know our God? We do this through prayer, Mass, the Scriptures, prayer groups, and the Sacraments; where we experience the love of God in our lives.

Finally, we are called to love our neighbor. This is non-negotiable in the Christian life. Christ confirms for us that love of neighbor is a part of baseline Christianity. One-hundred percent of the time, he says, we are called to meet the needs of the person who is right in front of us and even when they are not in front of us. Whether people are there in our midst concretely or in the abstract, we are always called to love our neighbor.

I encourage all of us to respond generously to the needs of the SMA fathers. We may not be able to see and observe the impact of our prayers and donations, but they do make an impact to the African people whom the SMA Fathers serve. I want to thank Fr. Dermot Roache for being here this weekend and for the good work he and the missionaries do by bringing people the Good News and providing basic amenities like water, education, and health to those they serve.

Our Christian baseline is to love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. May we respond wholeheartedly to this call of love.

In Christ’s love and friendship.