Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."

"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty." Abraham Lincoln

(Scripture Text: 1 Jn 4:7-10)
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

The world is filled with “sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36), the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor alike. Today, people respond to the idea that they need God as their shepherd in various ways. Some responses are unthinking and uncharitable: apathy, escapism, criticism, condemnation, exploitation, etc.

Look around you. Where are the sheep Jesus has put in your life?
Are they sitting at your dinner table, sharing your bedroom, in neighboring cubicles, houses, or pews? You can respond to them unthinkingly and uncharitably, or you can respond as Jesus did by loving them, as well as by putting gospel values into action.

We all know how easy it is to love the ones who love us back. But what about those people who disagree with our political views or who consider us backwards and old-fashioned? What about those people who rub us the wrong way or who have hurt us? Yes, we have to love them as well!

The only way we can show this kind of love is by embracing God’s love, by letting his perfect love “filter out” the harmful, toxic reactions we have to people we may not like. His love softens our hearts. It binds up our wounds. It heals our memories. It teaches us to love and to forgive. The same love that moved Jesus to the cross can move us to put to death resentment, indifference, hatred, and anger.

It would be nice if we could have a simple three-step method to overcome our lack of love in just one week. But it’s not so easy.

We need to seek God’s love and immerse ourselves in a daily pray life and frequent reception of the Sacraments (Eucharist and Reconciliation). The changes we seek may not happen right away, but they WILL happen. We may even find ourselves still struggling with a couple of difficult situations a year from now. But one thing we can be sure of: if we try our best to seek God’s love, He WILL find us. And as we are found by the Lord, we WILL become a channel of God’s love to the world around us.

The “sheep” are waiting for your response. "God's flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd's care" (1 Pt 5:2). Jesus said: " 'Do you love Me?' Teach and 'feed My sheep' " (Jn 21:17).

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