January 30, 2022
What Is The Love
That Makes God Present
In Our World Today???
Paul writes his first letter to the Corinthians, who are struggling, as a new Christian community faced with many difficulties and sufferings. He writes to them about the gift of love, Christian Love.
For most of us, when we think about love, we think about fond feelings for another, or sexual love, or the affection we have for another person.
Yet what Paul was writing about was love as that ability to go out of the way for the other, even for the enemy.
Who is the enemy?
The enemy is the person who gives us difficulty, the person who needs help, the person who is waiting for our compassion, our mercy, our forgiveness. The love of the enemy makes God present in the world. Certainly, Jeremiah, St. Paul and others gave their lives in loving the enemy, the ones who did not understand them, the ones who would kill them.
Our Baptism shows that each of us were called by God to make this love present in the world. Certainly, at times, we fail. But we get up again and again and continue to ask God for the grace to love even the enemy, the difficult one, the one we don't even know, etc.
We all know that Jeremiah was called in his youth to be a prophet. He lived in a very trying time that was probably one of the most turbulent times in Jewish history, approximately 600 to 552 B. C.
The people had admired the pagan nations with their pagan gods and often had turned to these pagan gods and had abandoned God. Jeremiah was called by God to do what seemed like an impossible task, calling the people back to God.
It would be nice to think that Jeremiah was a success in making God present for others, but the fact is that eventually he ended up pretty much a failure. He saw the people taken into the Exile in Babylon and he probably was murdered And, for sure, like us, he was frustrated at times. Yet in spite of his doubts in his fears he did not give up, but continued to make God present for others.
Our calling in baptism is never a matter of success or failure as far as making God present for others. Our baptism calls us to love the other even the enemy, even the one who gives his difficulty and persecutes us, even the one who does not understand this. We are called to make love present, even love to the enemy.
The Gospel story is one that finds Jesus in his own native town of Nazareth, proclaiming the Word in his synagogue. His friends and neighbors are amazed at what He says. You would think that his friends would listen to him.
But they attempt to kill Him.
He walks away, unharmed. Jesus is willing to show love, even to those friends and neighbors who were trying to kill Him. The same can even happen to us. To have this love means to always pray for the gift to love the enemy in any situation.
This Sunday gives us a chance to look at ourselves spiritually. Do we only love those who love us?
Perhaps this Sunday the Lord is calling us to take a look at the ones who give us difficulty in our own lives, the ones who causes problems, or even the ones that we tend to ignore.
These are all the enemy which we are called to love.
God truly has called us, just as he called Jeremiah and St. Paul.
We have been called in our baptism to make God present through making unconditional love present in our world, and we have to pray like crazy for the gift, the grace to love in that way, because our society says you only love the person who loves you. And further the world teaches us that to love the enemy is stupid and foolish.
Are we willing to pray for ourselves especially when we know we are to love the one who is difficult, who is unknown to us, who is strange, who is the enemy, et.?