Friday, May 19, 2017

“Love One Another” by Colleen O’Sullivan

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.”  (John 15:12-14)

With age-old love, I have loved you; so, I have kept my mercy toward you.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

Das Abendmahl, Mathilde Block, 1906, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
When we read Jesus’ words quickly, it sounds so easy.  “Love one another as I love you.”  We’re nice to other people, we think to ourselves, even as we’re hurriedly moving on to something else.  Stop.  Don’t leave.  Move your chair closer to the table.  Come back to Jesus’ command.  This was important to the Lord, so important that he made sure to include it in his final words to his friends, words of comfort, consolation, and hope.

Lean in closely to hear what Jesus is saying to us.  Allow his words to steep in our hearts.  Consider the love Jesus has for us.

Jesus had a part in our creation.  Jesus has been referred to as the “Author of Life.”  I wouldn’t be writing nor would you be reading this Tripod if Jesus hadn’t called us into being.  And he did it with love in his heart.  He rejoiced over our red, wrinkled appearance at birth and delighted in marking us as his own as the waters of baptism trickled over our heads.  Even before we were born, Jesus had a unique purpose in mind for each of us.

No matter what it is that Jesus has called us to, we have all fallen and sinned.  More than once.  If we’re honest, that would be many times.  Does the Lord walk away in disgust?  No.  He forgives us, lifts us up and sets us on our way again.  Then he completely forgets the sins he has just forgiven.  He really is the God of second chances.

Jesus has put some wonderful people in my life - fellow Cursillistas, friends, guides, and mentors - all of us traveling the Way together.  In this same farewell talk, Jesus says he’s going ahead of us, preparing a place for us so that we might be with him for all eternity.

When we look at the ways in which Jesus shows his love for us, we have to ask ourselves if we do the same toward others.  Are we a life-giving presence in others’ lives?  Do we bring cheer and comfort to the lonely, some of whom live in our condo buildings or on our blocks or sit alone at a table in the school cafeteria?   Do we share what we have with the homeless and the hungry?   We don’t have to go far to find someone who could use our help.  Do we create strong bonds of love in our families, or are we the ones creating discord?
Jesus delights in us, but do we delight in others?  Are we truly happy for others’ good fortune or are we envious and jealous?  Do we look for the good in other people, or are we always criticizing their faults?

Do we forgive others or do we harbor grudges?  Are we compassionate and merciful or do we live by “an eye for an eye?”

It sounds so easy – “love one another as I love you” – until we begin to parse the details in our own lives.  Spend some of your prayer time today reflecting on ways in which you’ve experienced Jesus’ love.  Then consider how well you’ve shown that same love to your family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers.   Jesus literally laid down his life for us.  Do we live even little bits of our lives for others?

No comments: