Saturday in the 5th week of Easter
Saint for the day: St. Pancras (d. 304)
"Love one another as I have loved you."
There was a priest from my province who, though he was very Orthodox, got involved in the Charismatic Renewal very early in its life. He used to say, “Love, love, love! It’s all Love!” I couldn’t help but thinking of him when I began to put together today’s reflection. How many variations can I give to this “Love thing?”
Then all of a sudden we switch to more of a focus on “hate!” “If the world hates you know that it hated ME first!” That almost sounded like a little kid who isn’t getting his way in a game with friends who says, “I’ll show you! I’ll just take my ball and go home!”
How do we find some “hook” in today’s scripture readings to gain insight into what Jesus is telling us?
In the first place we have to remember that the Holy Scriptures that we have are written down accounts of what happened in the recent past in the early life of the emerging Church community. And this emerging Church was, in many ways, “counter-cultural.” It was going against the norm and upsetting the status-quo. And in this way it was bound to run into persecution. So, Jesus’ words, “If the world hates you, know that it hated ME first” are a warning that we’re not at the gates of Heaven yet. And it’s also a reminder that the way to heaven will pass through some kind of “calvary” but that Jesus promises, “I will be with you forever…” The readings that we’ve been hearing from Acts point out that the early disciples were “on the Hill of Calvary” more often than not.
We don’t have to look very far around us – no matter where we are – to see that “this world” is in struggle on almost all fronts. But I don’t get discouraged thinking, “how will I ever make any difference” since I know that it is Jesus who saved the world – not me! And it’s the “love theme” that is the basis of our being disciples: “love one another as I have loved you” and we’ll begin to see changes all around us. Amen!
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