“The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power."
Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
First Letter of St. John 4:7-10
by Sister Maureen Niedermeyer, OSB
Our lives are full of surprises. Perhaps the greatest is that God loves us and all people throughout the world, despite our unworthiness. Jesus tells us that he has laid down his life for us; he has chosen to love us first so we can return that precious love to others. What a lesson for us! We too are to love first, especially those that we are not attracted to, perhaps those who irritate us. This can be difficult, but Jesus’ example cost him his very life.
St. Peter, in the first reading, teaches us to accept and care for those who are different, in this case the Gentiles who had also received the Holy spirit. He reached this decision only after a time of prayer and reflection. Do I take time to do this daily so I can know the mind and heart of Jesus? How do I love people who may be offensive and differ in values and ways that are opposed to mine? Even giving them a smile may be hard for me. How can I bridge the chasm between us? Jesus tells us how to do this: love one another. God chose all of us to remain in his love and be filled with joy in our daily lives. The present world offers us so many ultimate goals, but opening our hearts and hands to others will bring us true joy and peace.
Which comes first, our joy or God’s? We like to think that our efforts and sacrifices bring us closer to God, but only God brings us to God. He initiates and we respond; we are totally dependent on him for every breath, thought and action. Our only response is gratitude.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Among themselves they show the pure love of sisters/brothers; to God, reverent love; to their prioress, unfeigned and humble love.” The Good Zeal of Monastics Chapter 72: 8-10
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.” John 14:23