Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Owe Nothing Except Love

Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.  (Romans 13:8,10)

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:27

By Peter Scholtes

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

If you are carrying your own cross, then your hands don’t have room to carry much else.  Jesus knows this and will show us his own example as he marches up the hill with his cross.  All Jesus wants us to carry is love in our hearts, love on our minds, and love in the work of our hands.  Because if we have love, we fulfill our commitments to others.  Paid in full.

As the notes in the New American Bible underscore, total dedication is necessary for the disciple of Jesus. “No attachment to family or possessions can stand in the way of the total commitment demanded of the disciple. Also, acceptance of the call to be a disciple demands readiness to accept persecution and suffering and a realistic assessment of the hardships and costs.”[i] 

Paul reiterates the importance of love over all going beyond the famous passages in Corinthians.  When only love directs our decisions, the interest of family relationships, sanctity of life, and security of property, remain safe.  (Not that property matters if we give it all up to be disciples.)

Debt creates pressure and no one likes pressure. But there is one debt that you will always owe and never be able to pay off fully: The debt of love to others. You’ll never reach the place where you can say, “Now I love others as much as I ought to.” And so, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian and how much you have grown as a Christian, you still have room to grow in love.[ii]

The great countdowns have begun in earnest.  The headlines in today’s paper warn of what not to buy before Black Friday.  The images in social media point out that there are only seven Mondays until Christmas.  Retail outlets fight over who can woo customers by opening on Thanksgiving Day versus who can woo customers by closing on Thanksgiving Day.  One national chain also has its own interest at heart by encouraging people to go outside and engage in sports activities rather than shopping on Black Friday.  Of course, we will have to go there in advance to but whatever equipment is needed for such physical activity.

Yet all of this misses the point of the seasons we celebrate from Thanksgiving forward.  The point is love, not money.  Gratitude.  Sharing and spending time together with family and friends, with group members and with our parish.

Are you paying off your real debts?

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