for Sunday, May 13, 2012
For so many of us today, love is a completely misunderstood reality. It is
most often confused with a longing for another person, a longing to have
that person for myself. Without a doubt, that desire and longing can be a
part of love, but it is not love itself.
Love is choosing what is good for the other person and then doing what is
good for the other person, even if that means entirely putting the other
person out of my life. We have all kinds of examples of heroic love in the
person of so many fire fighters who give their lives for the good of
others. We have that same heroic love with those who are willing to give
their lives for their country. Most of us understand those large examples
of self-giving love.
Christ invites us to love as He loves. He gives His life even for those
who reject Him and kill Him. He gives His life for all of us sinners. He
invites us to love in that same way. It is clear in these examples that
falling in love, feeling a longing and a desire for another person, are
simply not part of this deepest love, even though they can lead us to
understand this great love and can help us give ourselves to such a love.
We see this great love at work in the first reading today. In this
section of the Acts of the Apostles we see the struggle of the early
Church, which was Jewish, to accept non-Jews, the Gentiles. In order to
understand this situation, we have to recognize that the Gentiles wanted to
become Christians. They wanted to change their lives. Today there is an
enormous movement to try to make people feel good without asking anything
of them. This is not a Christian movement. Yes, we must love all other
peoples, not matter what they believe-but we can't pretend that they are
Christians unless they accept the Christian faith, as did these early
The Christian faith included believing in the Lord Jesus and walking the
way that He taught us. Jesus comes to love us and to teach us the way of
salvation. The way of salvation includes beliefs and practices. In our
Christian history, there are at times conflicts over the beliefs and the
practices. We Catholics, if we are Catholic, accept that there is a
teaching authority in the Church.
Today we find all kinds of people and movements who claim to be Catholic
but who do not accept the teaching authority of the Church. The early
Christians would not have accepted them as followers of the way. Today,
because of so many challenges to Christian and Catholic faith, there is a
counter movement to clarify what it means to be Christian and Catholic.
There are extremes on the right and on the left. For those of us who are
not so fiercely extremist, there is the simple way of accepting the Church
as She is, the body of Christ; accepting the teaching authority of the
Church as it is, the presence of Jesus in our world.
We come back to the central theme of today: Love one another as I have
loved you. Remain in My love. It is I who have chosen you.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 10.25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Second Reading: 1 John 4.7-10
Gospel: John 15.9-17
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: