Mar 16 (Mt 5:43-48)

The following story is known to us, perhaps in different forms…

A gentleman who was walking down the streets of a city was greatly interested too look at the street children – many of whom were carrying smaller children upon their backs – and managing at the same time to play their games.

“It is too bad,” said the gentleman to one little fellow, “that you have to carry such a heavy burden!”

“He’s no burden, Sir!” came the quick reply; “he’s my brother.”

The child who was carrying his younger sibling, did not count the pain or the difficulty in carrying; instead embraced the situation joyfully.

“He’s no burden, Sir… he’s my brother” – is a phrase that ought to strike a chord in our hearts.

As Christians, we need to make this journey…

… of considering people not as a “burden” but as a brother!

… of considering people not as a “stress” but as a sister!

The Gospel of the Day is an powerful exhortation by Jesus to make this transition from considering people as a “burden” and “stress”…

… and instead look at them as “brothers and sisters”, extending the Christian virtue of unconditional love to all.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, continues to pull down barriers of “comfort and coziness” by challenging His disciples to rise above the normal standards of the world.

Today He speaks on the aspect of “Love”.

Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human person.

The dictionaries define love as being ‘a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person’ or a ‘feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection’.

Generally speaking, love is considered only to be a human ’emotion or feeling’.

>> It is something that is usually understood as being “felt” or “sensed” or “experienced”.

Jesus surely did consider “love” as an emotion and a feeling.

Therefore…

• He loved the company of people….

• He cherished affection of those who followed Him…

• He treasured relationships and fostered friendships with all…

But beyond these “external” dimensions of Love…

… Our Blessed Lord taught and showed a higher aspect of love.

Love, not just being a “feeling ” but ” love as a “decision”.

>> Love, not just being a “sensation” but love as a “commitment”

Therefore Jesus would say, “For if you love only those who love you, what recompense will you have?” (Mt 5: 46)

Love, when understood only as a “feeling” or an “emotion” can get reduced to being just an “object” or a “thing”

• Just as one exchanges goods with each other… love is also exchanged with one another.

• Just as one shares one’s belongings and possessions with one another… love is also shared with one another

• Just as one gives and takes things from each other… love is also given and taken from each other

But the Lord presents a higher understanding of love and demands a much supreme expression of love from His followers: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5: 48)

Love to be a “virtue” has to surpass the ordinary realms of being “an emotion” and “feeling” and transcend to being a “radical decision” and a “faithful commitment”.

When someone hurts us, we don’t “feel” like loving…

>> But Jesus says, “Love that person”, because love is a “daring decision”

When someone continues to be lukewarm, we don’t have any “emotions” of love…

>> But Jesus says, “Love that person”, because love is an “absolute allegiance”

When someone continues to cause pain, we don’t “experience” any love…

>> But Jesus says, “Love that person” because love is a “challenging commitment”

Now this teaching certainly irks our “normal” understanding.

• How can I possibly love someone who has hurt and killed me, mentally?

• How can I be expected to show love to someone who still hurts me, even intentionally?

• How can I be told to love people who have no regard for me at all and treat me as an object?

It seems to be an impossibility.

>> It seems to be absurd.

But let us look to the Crucified Lord…

… and we have the perfect example of this Love being lived in actuality!

Jesus on the Cross shows that love is to be a “daring decision”, an “absolute allegiance” and a “challenging commitment”!

Love to be a “virtue” has to surpass the ordinary realms of being “an emotion” and “feeling”…

… and transcend to being a “radical decision” and a “faithful commitment”.

>> One may not be able to “show” love…

… but can we still, at least pray and wish for the good of the person?

>> One may not be able to “talk” freely to the one who has hurt…

… but can we still, at least refrain from wanting bad to happen to that person?

>> One may not be able to “resist” from having bad feelings when encountering one’s enemy… … but can we still, at least offer the person to the Mercy of God?

This teaching certainly seems to be a big “burden” and a significant “stress”

But this is where, we need to make a journey…

… of considering people not as a “burden” but as a brother!

… of considering people not as a “stress” but as a sister!

The Lord has walked through this journey.

He is still with us, to accompany us.

• This journey may be hard

• This journey may be hurting

• This journey may be painful

But the Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you!” (2 Cor 12: 9)

Let us trust Him!

>> Let us be courageous in Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ The measure of love is to love without measure!”

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