Daily Reflection
January 5th, 2005
Mike Cherney
Physics Department
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Our God calls us to love. Today's first reading gives us a personal challenge. Today's Gospel closes with a personal Epiphany. I pray today for the ability to recognize and respond.

"Do not be amazed, brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer ... Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth." I believe this passage holds the words of someone who is thinking and acting counter to the popular culture. They come from someone who respects his fellow man, even to the point of self- sacrifice. Someone who is willing to endure hardship and criticism to do what is right. There are many who chastised because they take on their culture. I feel called as a Christian, to have and to express views that are not in alignment with those of many of my friends and countrymen. Being a Christian does not mean staying out of trouble. What is the basis of our actions? Do we act out of love or do we act of personal gain? I look at what the media serves to me, I look at our nation's policies (foreign and domestic), and I listen to what my children tell me what goes on among their friends. I do not feel part of a culture based in love. I see a society which is polarized and dominated by self-interest. I put myself in the place of the author of today's reading. I do not think his view of his society was very different from mine. I see in the author someone who understands the transcendence that our faith offers. The amazing thing is we can count the number of societies that have risen and fallen in the last 2000 years, but the belief in this transcendence founded in love has remained alive.

The words of the Psalmist affirm my belief. "... good indeed is the Lord, whose love endures forever, whose faithfulness lasts through every age."

I enjoyed Nathanael's question in today's Gospel: "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Can insight come from places which are the outside the great centers of power and learning? When I consider the most significant moments of learning in my life, I realize they were housed in unsophisticated surroundings. Those who provided the day-to-day experiences that formed my life as well as those who provided the profound experiences which changed my life did so in very humble ways. In each case, these again were people acting out of love.

My prayer asks the Lord to give me confidence. I pray that our God is active in our lives and in human history. Today's Gospel starts with a call. I pray that we hear and that we listen to our call. I pray that we respond with love and with the actions that it requires.


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