05/13/2017 - "BELOVED,. LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE LOVE IS OF GOD!"
“BELOVED, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE LOVE IS OF GOD!”
Near the end of my senior year in high school, one of our professors asked all of us boys to write down on a piece of paper that which was the most important thing in life.
All the boys unanimously wrote down one word: SECURITY. This whole notion that as long as I MIND MY OWN BUSINESS, and don’t bother anyone else, somehow everything would be okay. I would just go through life minding my own business, doing my own thing and holding on tightly to all that I had. And boy, does this way of life ever consume us. It takes a lot of energy, and it’s hard!
But even if we set out to mind our own business, what JESUS tells us in His Gospel is that love is your business.
The way of living your life where security is the most important thing does not lead to joy and does not give life.
Your business is to love and care for one another. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I love you.”
Our obedience to this commandment of Jesus means LOVE has to be the foundation of our lives as Fr. Peter taught with joyful boldness - a love that is selfless - sacrificial - unconditional - forgiving
HOW ACTUALLY ARE WE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER?
Let’s take a look at four expressions of love that we are called to show within our four circles of love: PATIENCE, HUMILITY, GENEROSITY, AND KINDNESS.
Families - “Fathers, don’t provoke your children.” literally just waiting for one another without anger. Chilling out about annoying habits. Giving spouses more time to process feelings or decisions. Allowing our older parents to be slow or repetitive or even stubborn.
Community - Giving folks time to adjust to change, letting people make mistakes without condemnation.
Marginalized - Give time. Speak to someone you don’t usually have time to speak with. Beggar, disabled person, elderly.
Enemy - Forgive without demanding their repentance first. Suffer what you must suffer at their hands patiently, without chafing or fighting.
Families - Practice of these words: “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” OR “You were hurt by what I did. Please forgive me.” Without self-defense. Laying down the need to be right.
Community - My way is not the only way. My preference is not the law. Allowance for differences and disagreements. We come to serve, not to be served.
Marginalized - Acknowledgement that I’m not better than anyone else, no matter what the world says.
Enemy - Willingness to be wronged or humiliated. When the world comes against us, we have permission to turn the other cheek.
Family - With time, with words of praise and affirmation, with thoughtfulness, acts of service, use of our things, non-possessiveness amongst each other. Let our belongings belong to one another. Not to be abused in loaning or giving money, but an openness with the things we live with. Emotional generosity - real honesty or vulnerability to our families.
Community - Giving financially so that the parish can thrive. Inviting each other into our lives, our homes, our tables, our friendship.
Marginalized - Give till it hurts. Give with a cheerful heart. Mindfulness of the other in pain/need. Give money, give time, give prayer.
Enemy - If someone forces you to carry his pack one mile, walk with him for two.
The aroma of all our relationships - We are never excused from expressing kindness. And it tastes better than being unkind.
Family - Speak gently, be gracious, forgive, rejoice. Seek freedom from anger. Train our spirits to default to kind words.
Community - Avoid pettiness. Resist gossip. Never to publicly criticize another person. Speak with gentleness. We are limited people receiving limited people. Give Grace for that.
Marginalized - Rather than ignore, be proactively kind. Especially to those who are in a lower social situation than you. A smile and a kind word.
Enemy - We never have to be unkind. We never need to return anger for anger, irrational behavior for irrational behavior. Christians have no enemies but Satan. We wage war with the world, the flesh, and the devil, but not with any man. A gentle word turns away wrath. Always kindness.
THE LORD IS SO INVESTED IN OUR BECOMING A LOVING COMMUNITY!
Love is learned. Our families and this community are our schools of love. We must learn in action, with each other, engaging the hard work of trying and failing to love, repenting, receiving grace, and trying again. It’s a journey, we’re on it together, we will learn from each other.
Let God do the heavy lifting. We can never change ourselves by ourselves. We need the Holy Spirit. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity/cowardice (to run away from relationships where we might experience pain) but a spirit of LOVE and of power, and of good judgment.”
This is a process. God is invested in us. And it leads to joy!
JESUS: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.
Let each one of us turn to JESUS and rely upon HIS power to take that next little step in being more patient, humble, generous and kind toward one another.
Today is Ascension Sunday. We remember with gratitude that Christ is with us spiritually so that no matter where we are, our Lord is present. Let’s find time to pray for each other.