Reflection by Kathryn Mulderink
Today’s Gospel: Luke 6:27-38
Today’s readings remind us of the absolute demands of Love: we must love without measure, forgiving one another, loving even our enemies, rejecting all retaliation, giving all we can in the name of Christ. St. Paul tells the Colossians that love is the bond of perfection, and we must act in love and peace and gratitude in all we do, in word or in deed.
This, of course, is impossible for us on a natural level; but the Spirit of God in us empowers us to act on a supernatural level so that we can truly pour ourselves out for others. Because we are created in God’s image and likeness and filled with the Spirit at Baptism, we are able to enlarge our capacity for self-giving, self-forgetful love and become the Heart of Christ in the world. In another place, St. Paul begs the Romans to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice as spiritual worship. Like Christ on the cross, we must be willing to pour ourselves out completely for the love of Christ and others.
We do have the freedom to turn away from this radiant mission. When we are good to others for our own benefit, we become the recipient of our own “gift,” which is no gift at all. When we choose ourselves over others, we prevent our own growth in Christ. We are free to judge and condemn and refuse to forgive, but the way we treat others will be measured out to us in return. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “All get what they want; they do not always like it.”
We must be kind and merciful to all, as our loving Father is kind and merciful. We cannot love in percentages: “The measure of love is to love without measure,” St. Augustine states plainly.
In what ways can we lovingly pour more of ourselves out for others — our time, our energy, our patience — and truly love without any calculation?
Lord, fill our hearts with the purifying and attracting fire of Love, so that we can bring Your light to every darkened place.
Copyright 2019 Kathryn Mulderink
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