Wednesday in the 2nd week of Easter
Saint for the day: St. Apollonius the Apologist (d. 185)
“Don’t tell me what you believe. Tell me what you love!”
My mind is swirling in all the images that we are presented to us in these Easter days. Not only John’s light and darkness themes but all the ways in which the early Church grew and came to be a powerful new way to believe in the Resurrected Jesus. So, where do I start?
Here’s a $50.00 word for you today: “mystagogia” a Greek word referring to the period of teaching of the people who were baptized at the Easter Vigil. Traditionally it lasted until Pentecost. Basically it refers to the explanation of the ‘mysteries’ of our belief. All the Sacred Scriptures that are presented to us in these “Easter days” are primarily selected to support this teaching and are a reminder to all of us of our need to “kindle” or renew our own faith and belief in the Resurrected Lord.
Today, we are especially given a whole bag-full of images to enhance and support this growth period. To start with, we have what is probably the most often quoted scripture verse in all the bible: John 3:16. A verse that is proclaimed – just by reference – at every athletic event that is televised in the US! “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son … so that we might have eternal life!”
All of us are struggling, along with the newly baptized Christians, to come to a fuller “belief” in the Risen Lord. As I was reading through a couple or other reflections for today’s liturgy I found that this word, “belief” comes from an old, now obscure, word, “lief" meaning, “love.” So, an early Christian teacher said, “Don’t tell me what you believe: tell me what you love.” The apostle, Thomas’ statement, “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief” might better be translated, “Lord I “love” [you] help my “unloveableness.”
Try replacing all the things that you say you believe in with the word, “love” and see what you come up with. I hope you are surprised and encouraged by what you find.
I always tell our newly ordained priests, “Love the people that you are sent to minister to and tell them why the Jesus that you love and meet in the Gospels commands you to do this!”
Bottom line? All of us have to come to that point where we can say, “Lord I love you. Help me to love the people that are in my life. Doctrine and tenents of faith can come later but without “love” it’s just another “clanging gong.!” Amen!
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