Friday, May 4, 2018

Love is infectious and the greatest healing force on earth.

People who love each other fully and truly are the happiest people in the world. They may have little, they may have nothing, but they are happy people. Everything depends on how we love one another. - Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997: found the Missionaries of Charity)

Gospel Text: (JN 15:12-17)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."

Jesus COMMANDS us to love one another.  He didn’t mince words.  He didn’t suggest, or express hope that we would do what He commanded. He didn’t exhort, He didn’t imply.  There aren’t many instances where Jesus is quoted so strongly as He is today in His message to us.  So, if that is the command, how are we responding? Do we feel the awe and power of Jesus’ message as did those who first heard it 2,000 years ago?  Do we feel uplifted?  Do we feel threatened?  What are we doing?  How are we acting?  Are we loving, or are we waffling?  Are we listening, or are we ignoring the call to act?  Are we even aware of the person in front of us and his or her needs in this moment of encounter, or are we so self-absorbed that we don’t hear their cry of pain?

Jesus doesn’t command people in general, he commands YOU and me and each one of us individually.  Because He commands each one of us, we each are individually accountable.  How did we or didn’t we love when we saw someone in need, or heard someone ask for help, or observed a situation that called for a loving response?  It seems to me we can look in the mirror frequently and ask ourselves pointedly – how am I doing with this love command?  What little things did I do or not do today, or in the last hour, or even in the last few minutes, that responded to this command?  Did I make someone’s life better by a simple act of kindness?  Did I ignore someone by my insensitivity and in doing so make their life a little sadder?  How aware am I of my loving, or un-loving responses and actions? 

And so my prayer today is to stop, look, listen, and act – stop the things I am doing or not doing without thinking, be aware of and look at the person in front of me, listen carefully to her or his words and needs, and love as Jesus has commanded me to do.

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