Summary: Basics of loving one another.
Fifth Sunday of Easter - Year C
May 6th, 2007
* Acts 14:21b-27
* Rev. 21:1-5a
* Jn. 13:1, 31-33a, 34-35
Love One Another - A Short Course
Love One Another 101
Welcome to Love One Another 101. My dear students, today I would like to give you a short course on how to love one another. Now pay attention, because there will be a final examination. Your examination will take place at the end of your life, and the examiner will be the Lord. So this is very important stuff!
First Point - Start At Home
My first point is this: Love starts close to home but should reach to the farthest corners of the world. If we are not really loving those who are close to us, then there is a good chance that we are not really loving anyone. This is so because those closest to us are the ones who call on us to love day in and day out.
It’s hard to fool yourselves about the state and condition of your love when it comes to those whom you rub shoulders with every day. There are so many times in our day when we are called to forget ourselves and bring some measure of caring to those who are physically close to us. Helping hands, kind words, thoughtful actions - this is the stuff of love.
An eight-year-old wrote these words about love and true love. "Love is when Daddy reads me a bedtime story. True love is when he doesn’t skip any of the pages." You simply can’t live with another person and avoid the call to love that constantly finds its way into any ordinary day. One of the wonderful things about living with another person is that such living constantly alerts us to how self-centered and selfish we can be.
These lights of awareness are flashing all the time. A good learner will know how to read the signs that call for a loving response. Many married couples know that the secret to a happy marriage is to be kind to one another. Genuine kindness is surely one of the main ways that shows our love for one another.
But our love can’t remain at home. We need to discover how to reach out to others who need the particular love that we can give. This could mean direct service that we give to others as volunteers or financial aid that we give so that others may live with some sense of human dignity. Your homework will be to discover where and how you need to take your love. Now, I won’t be checking on your homework. But I’m sure you’ll know if it’s done or not.
Second Point - The Head Not The Heart
The second point in our course is this: love comes primarily from the head, not the heart. Fooled you with that one, didn’t I? When we are talking about the love that is part of Jesus’ commandment to love one another, then we need to be very aware that this kind of love comes from our head, that is, from our ability to choose.
A little girl came running into the house to her mother, exclaiming: "Mamma, I love you!" The mother replied: "I am so glad you love me. I have had a hard day, and I am so tired. If you love me so much, will you wash the dishes for me?" The little girl replied: "I do love you, mother, but not in that way." Love doesn’t consist in saying words, but in doing the dishes. Love finds it ways into life through the decisions we make.
Choosing to spend our money wisely so that we can have some left over to give those who need it, is a choice of love. Giving up your desire to watch yet another sports event on television so that your wife can see something that she wants to see, can be a choice of love. Taking some of your time to visit a sick friend is a choice of love. We may not feel like doing any of these small things, or a million other things, but we can make the decision to love. And, in the final analysis, that is what counts. Love comes from the head, not the heart.
Third Point - Love Takes Time
You can’t rush a good meal. It takes time to prepare something that is going to bring real delight to people. Some things just take time. And so with love. Love takes time. We can’t be in a hurry when we are bringing our love to others. In fact, for many people, the gift of time is exactly the kind of love they need from us. We are suffering from a large overdose of busyness and all of the terrible side effects that busyness brings into our lives.