Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

The readings for Sunday, April 24, 2016:

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18

Psalm: Psalm 148

Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6

Gospel: John 13:31-35 

In today's Gospel, Jesus gives what may be the hardest commandment yet:  he tells us we may love each other.    I think of all the other things Jesus could have required of us, and some part of me wishes for one of those.  Give me some dietary laws!  I can follow those.  But loving each other?  How do we do that?

Jesus isn't instructing us to manage our emotions--we must also be outwardly obvious that we're loving each other.  Jesus says "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (35).  It's not enough to say we love each other--it's a public declaration, by our actions.  For how else will everyone know?

I want to protest--I want to tell Jesus how busy I am.  But I know that Jesus will have none of it.  Jesus tells us firmly that we are to love each other. He doesn't tell us how, but he shows us. This Gospel lesson comes after the washing of the disciples' feet and a leisurely dinner.
Here are two ways we can show love:  by serving (the washing of nasty feet) and by slowing down to be present for each other (the dinner).  The ways of doing this are as varied as our personalities.

Choose the one that calls to you and decide that this will be your ministry. Know that you will have to gently refocus your efforts time and time again, as you move along. Fortify your efforts by asking God to help you, so that you can glorify God, so that everyone will know the God you serve by the efforts you make to serve others, by the love that you show.

In this way, we can repair the world.

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