Friday, May 27, 2011

Love One Another

Today's Gospel sees Christ giving His disciples the commandment to love one another as He has loved them. Love is not just something Christ does. It is who He is. It is His defining characteristic. This is how we, as Christians, must love - so that it becomes not merely something we do but the characteristic by which we are known.

The crucifix, contrary to what many believe, is the ultimate symbol of the love we are to have for one another because it is the reminder of how far we are to be willing to go in order to love someone else. We must be willing to lay down our lives, if necessary, not just for those who love us in return but for those who hate us and despise us. We must be willing to die for the sake of those who will never understand the reason we are willing to do this thing, who will never thank us or appreciate what we have done for them. We must be willing to do this because this is precisely what Christ did for us. He laid down His life for our sake even knowing that many of us would never thank Him for it, never appreciate the gift, and never understand the reason He did it.

This isn't merely a commandment, but a challenge. Are we willing to rise to the occasion? Will we fight the battle for the sake of love? This is a battle that can't be fought with a gun or a knife or a fist. It is a battle for the heart, and it must be fought through prayer and active effort to reach out to others, to risk everything for the sake of others. Will we fight knowing that it is likely we will not see the victory in our lifetime? Will we pray for others knowing it is highly likely we will not see the fruits of our labor? Will we give of ourselves knowing that it will hurt us? That's the challenge. How far are we willing to go to love one another?

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