Love dif­fer­ently

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

AP­PAR­ENTLY to­day’s cul­ture teaches us to love only those who love us, like only those who like us, to some point to like only those who look like us or fall un­der our stan­dards and dis­re­gard those we con­sider less than us. And what is worse is when our cul­ture promotes vi­o­lence and fear.

To­day you have to be ‘use­ful’ to be valu­able. We mea­sure oth­ers like the way we mea­sure things. We seem to love peo­ple like the way we love things. Love has to­tally lost its mean­ing.

In one of the gospel sto­ries in the bi­ble Je­sus made a “ser­mon on the plain.” In the story, Je­sus chal­lenges us to love dif­fer­ently from the way we nor­mally love. From lov­ing dif­fer­ently, Je­sus in­vites us to act dif­fer­ently. Love is a verb. Love is revolution­ary and turns ev­ery­thing in­side out. He is ask­ing his dis­ci­ples to do what is con­sid­ered im­pos­si­ble and not the nor­mal way to act. Je­sus is invit­ing you to do the same. This is the norm for Je­sus.

Love your en­e­mies! Je­sus calls us to a de­mand­ing and challengin­g task - to love your en­e­mies, not to curse them, to pre­sent the other cheek to any­one who slaps you on one cheek, and do not protest or com­plain when some­body takes what is yours.

In or­der to help us un­der­stand what He wants us to do, he gives us two state­ments: the Golden Rule, “Treat oth­ers as you would like peo­ple to treat you!” (Lk 6:31) and, “Be mer­ci­ful as your Fa­ther in Heaven is mer­ci­ful!” (Lk 6:36).

Je­sus not only wants to change the sit­u­a­tion but he wants to change the whole sys­tem. He started a rev­o­lu­tion - a rev­o­lu­tion from the heart. He wants to build a world from a new ex­pe­ri­ence of a God, He calls, Abba (Fa­ther), who is full of ten­der­ness and mercy. Je­sus is coun­ter­cul­tural.

One gospel com­men­ta­tor wrote that, “Love can­not de­pend on what I re­ceive from oth­ers. True love should want the good of oth­ers, in­de­pen­dently of what he or she does for me. Love should be cre­ative, be­cause that is how God’s love is for us: ‘Be mer­ci­ful, as your Heav­enly Fa­ther is mer­ci­ful.’”

Je­sus’ words are uni­ver­sal. In Luke’s Gospel, the Golden Rule says, “Treat oth­ers as you would like peo­ple to treat you!” (Lk 6:31). Al­most all re­li­gions in the whole world have the same Golden Rule ex­pressed in dif­fer­ent ways. This is a sign of Je­sus’ uni­ver­sal and in­clu­sive de­sire which is ex­pressed in His ac­tions and words. To­day Je­sus calls us to make the choice - to choose in fa­vor of the poor, the bro­ken, those con­sid­ered worth­less and garbage. We are called to love dif­fer­ently.

Pope Fran­cis re­flect­ing on the same Gospel read­ing in which the Lord tells his dis­ci­ples, “Love your en­e­mies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mis­treat you,” the Holy Fa­ther af­firms that this is a model of Chris­tian life – of un­con­di­tional love in ac­tion. And Pope Fran­cis rec­og­nizes that this new way of the Gospel is dif­fi­cult to live by.

And so I end this brief reflection with the prayer of Pope Fran­cis, “Lord, give me the grace to be­come a good Chris­tian, be­cause I can­not do it on my own.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.