Many of us will feel we are doing alright when it comes to loving one another. We are in a close-knit circle of family and friends. Loving them is not a problem; in fact it comes very naturally. Until a conflict occurs and we find ourselves in different circles. Today’s message pushes the boundary of our circles because in true love all humanity belong to the one same perfect circle.
“Love one another; just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (Today’s Gospel)
So what is this true love? St Thomas Aquinas defined love as “willing the good of the other”. It means that confronted with a choice we must consistently choose what will be better for the other, sometimes at the expense of our own self. John Lennon invited us to imagine a brotherhood of humanity where all the people shared all the world and dream of everyone joining in this perfect circle so that the world will live as one. It will only happen if this begins with ‘me’.
“Just as I have loved you”. God is the source of unceasing and unconditional love. For some of us our relationship with God is in a conflict simply because God does not make the world the way ‘I’ want it to be. And ‘I’ want it instantaneously too. No matter how much we reject and blame him, God remains faithful to us. How did we end up in conflict with God who unceasingly will what is good for us?
In our human, self-defense mechanism we tend to blame the other. Sometimes we blame God. Many daily conflicts arise in our family and jobs because of choices we made. They become more complex and long-drawn over time because we keep rejecting love; this willing of the good for the other. When we do not want to live in the same circle as the other, there is a cause and effect of our choices. It is not God’s fault. This was never his way when he said, “Follow me”.
‘I’ am a blameless victim in a conflict. This ‘blameless victim’ does not exist. As long as we do not love one another, we tumble into the vicious cycle of causes and effects. These can only stop when we take it upon ourselves to love the other. The unconditional love God has for us must flow through the life we live into the life of the other. To be able to truly love, we must assume our part in any conflict and in any breakdown in relationships.
‘I’ must first confess humility and trust in the love of God; to admit yes, reluctantly maybe and feel embarrassed or ashamed. ‘I’ must concede my prideful opinions and not pass the blame. ‘I’ must search the broken relationship and surely I will find moments to be grateful for. Use gratitude to power up love. ‘I’ must completely surrender as judgement is not for me, only willing good for the other. In ‘my’ lowliness I respect and obey the authority over me and trust in the consoling love of my ever faithful God. Taking is easy and giving is tough but when both hands clap, we come back to live in the same perfect circle.
Every week in Easter we get the same message, “Follow me”, follow my way. At our next point of conflict let us all do just this. Follow this Love and let it flow.
5th Sunday of Easter