Daily Reflection
May 23rd, 2003
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
Nursing School Chaplain
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Acts 15:22-31
Psalm 57:8-9, 10-12
John 15:12-17

As we look at the world around us, we see bitterness, hatred and strife.  The recent war in Iraq, the state of affairs between Israel and her neighbors, and the unsettled conditions in many parts of the world all testify to the absence of a true and just peace in our world. 

Today’s gospel reading is from St. John who is often called the apostle of love.  His words today show us why.  He quotes Jesus as he tells his disciples about love.  His message is a very simple yet very profound one.  It emphasizes the importance of true love.  And it seems to me that the message of Jesus about love speaks to us as we ponder the condition of the world today.   This simple message of love provides a remedy for all the bitterness, hatred and strife we see in our world.  

To understand the meaning of Jesus’s command, we must understand what love is.  We use the word love all the time, but the true meaning of that word is not always clearly understood.  The dictionary defines love as follows:  “A deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons.”  When we love someone, we are genuinely concerned for their well being.  And one of the ways to show love to another is to pray for them and for their well being.  This is the message that Jesus had for his disciples and that he has for us today.  He commands us to love one another.  To be concerned for the well being of one another.  To wish one another well.  As I say, these are very simple words, but they convey a very profound meaning.  In order to show our love for another we have to be really concerned about their welfare.  And we have to demonstrate our concern by actions that show our concern and by praying for those we love.

But how would the commandment of love help to bring true peace to the world?  By showing those around us that there are many loving people in the world who want just the opposite of the violence and enmity that are so prevalent today.  By giving those around us an example of love and helping them to see the fruits of our love.  It may be true that one person or a few persons cannot do much to change the world.  But as Our Lord showed us when he gave his life because of his love for us, the example of love can be very powerful and influence very many.  We see the same thing in the lives of the saints who loved very much and influenced many other people by their love.  Today, if all of us who believe in and follow Jesus really demonstrate our love for one another, we can have a very powerful influence on the world around us.  And the more the words of Jesus about love are known and lived, the greater the possibility of a true and just peace for our world.  

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