Love hurts and Love WINS

“We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all.”  {Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston}

In this weekend’s Gospel [John 13:31-35], Jesus gives a new commandment — to love one another.  And he goes a step further, he says that this is the way that you will be known as MY disciples — your love for one another.

We are faced with a challenge this weekend:  do we deal with [preach] about the sweet “greeting card” love or do we face with preach that it really is hard — the hard work — to live the love Jesus is talking about.  Jesus is talking about more than acts of kindness and good deeds.  Jesus is talking about more than charity and concern for others.

Hear again the words of Cardinal O’Malley:  We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all.”

In the wake of the horrific tragedy of the Boston marathon bombing,  we might wonder if we are seeing the disintegration of a civilized world.  But, the challenge is for us to live seeing that the tragedy of the moment is the OLD ORDER that is passing away …. and that we are going to be a part of the NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH …. that Jesus is wiping away our tears at the beginning of a new reality.  {Revelation 21:1-5}

A preface remark:  maybe anger is the real block toward the love Jesus is talking about.  And, perhaps we cannot live the love he is talking about until we face the anger that is the root of the problem.  We are angry at ourselves, so we cannot really love ourselves.  We are angry at the ungrateful child/spouse …. so we cannot really love them.  Muslims are angry at Christians and Christians are getting more and more angry with Muslims.  “Orthodox Christians” are angry with those who promote same gender relationships …. and proponents of same gender relationships are angry with the “closed minded believers.”  We are angry with those who want more of those ungrateful immigrants to enter our nation …..after all, look what they just did in Boston!!

To live the love Jesus is talking about, we begin with a realization that:  I am you and you are me.  Our lives and our world are interconnected.  What happens to me affects you and what happens to you affects me.  To know the peace I desire, it behooves me to create a more peaceful life for you.  To sense calm in my life, I need to create a world of calm all around me.  Loving you could be the “game changer.”

I must resist the temptation to critize or judge those who are different than me.  I think this way — you think differently, so you are wrong.  I have the truth …. you are misguided.   There are my kind of people and there are “those people” over there and life would be so much better if they would either live the way we do …. or just go away.

Love never divides …. love unites.  Love lifts others up, it never puts anyone down.  Love cools things down …. it never heats things up.  Anger divides, it puts down, it heats things up.

OK: Here are a few practical thoughts….

FIRST:  this kind of love is HARD TO DO … and it takes work.  A few prayers asking God to help us be more loving is not going to cut it.  Effort for the six weeks of Lent will not lay the foundation.  To love like Jesus wants us to love, takes daily concentration and effort.  This kind of love is a PROJECT for everyday.

Making the good of another equal to and greater than our own good — is not easy.  There is an inclination within us to get what we want, when we want it.  To be able to put the good of another before our own good ….means we are thinking, reflecting on our feet … and choosing to do what sometimes will go against our hearts desire.

Second — this kind of love is a commitment not a feeling because sometimes, most of the time, perhaps, we just do not FEEL LIKE doing what is asked of us and we do it anyway.  Who would “feel like” changing a dirty diaper …. it is an act of love.

Anyone in any kind of deep relationship knows this to be true …..feelings are strong sometimes …. and sometimes the feelings are not there at all ….. we just do not feel like doing what is asked of us, what is expected of us.  But, we know what the situation calls for …we know what the Gospel thing to do is.

Third, if we want some real practical examples — turn to a scripture that is so often proclaimed at weddings ….. and a reading that sounds so sweet …. and those of us who are 35 and older are thinking …. if they only knew ….

You know to what I am referring — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

> Love is patient — love is kind —-

> Love is not jealous

> Love is NEVER rude,  it is NOT self-seeking

> Love is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries.

I must be patient ….I must be kind … I must not be jealous …. I will not be rude …. I will not be self-seeking …I will HEAL MY ANGER.

We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all.

The basic goodness of humankind once again was made real in the face of horror as people rushed in to help the wounded in Boston.  Money flowed from around the world to assist the victims.  We are a good people — there is so much good in the human heart.  If we but channel it …. good will overcome evil and love WILL WIN.

As we try to figure out what went wrong with the two brothers who worked together to cause pain and suffering ….. we must also figure out what we must do to make people work together more and more to accomplish good.  As we condemn their actions and assure that justice is done, somehow we have to come to a deeper understanding of the wounded hearts and fragile minds that consider evil.

We are all wounded.  We are all fragile.  We all need to be loved.  And, we all need to love not just with our words ….our deeds will prove our discipleship and build the world we all desire.  Recognize anger this week …. see what the anger leads to.

hjm

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2 Responses to Love hurts and Love WINS

  1. Bob Colbert says:

    Outstanding! This reflection touches so many aspects of our lives as we strive to be just, fair and loving… Many thanks!

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