We Need To Hear This Challenge Again And Again In Our Walk!
Today’s short verse from First Corinthians is a reiteration of Jesus’ command to “love one another as he loved us.” (John 13:34). Jesus is our model. Everything he did was done out of love for us. This verse also reminds us of something Paul had written about love earlier in this letter. “If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong, or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing, If I give my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) We need to hear that challenge over and over again in our faith life.
Do we not believe that it is love of God and our neighbor, that gives ultimate meaning to our lives and to all that we do? Do we trust God when he says, “Forever I will maintain my love for [you] and my covenant with [you] will never fail?” (Psalm 89:28) If so, then should we not, in this faith, commit ourselves, all of our gifts and all of our weaknesses, to do all things in this love? I have often wondered why all of the well-intended social programs that government has legislated to relieve the suffering of the poor and the forgotten, never seem to solve the problems that they were designed to address. Could it be that laws and huge bureaucracies are not generally moved by love? Does not love have to be more intimate?
As Christians, we are called by God to do all things in love, to serve the needs of the suffering other, personally, at the most local of levels, out of love for them as our brothers and sisters. We must be personally present to those who are suffering in order to come to know them and to love them as persons, to hear, to feel their personal stories, and to begin to effectively address their suffering out of our love for them. As I write these words, I am only too aware of my own failures, my own fears, and how I often fall short of doing all things in love. This is why our daily readings in the scriptures are so important. In them we not only encounter God’s infinite love for us, but his continual, loving challenge to us, to do as he does. He does not ask us to do the impossible. He asks us to be what he made us to be. He is infinitely patient with us, because he loves us. He generously gives us the graces we need to grow in faith and in our capacity to love others as he loved us, because he loves us.
Lord, we are weak, but your graces always strengthen us. In you we have encountered the saving power of love. We pray that you give us the graces we need to grow in our capacity to love you and our neighbor daily, so that we will be ever more able to do all things in love. We pray, as always, in the name of Jesus. Amen!
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