Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

May 14, 2011

Mandy Widegren

Freshman, Business Major, Pre-Healthcare

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
Ps 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Jn 15:9-17

"Love one another as I love you."- John 15:12

How many times have we let hate seep into our hearts? One of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, wrote in her newest book that,

“Jesus didn’t make exceptions [when he said love your neighbors]. He didn’t say we’re supposed to love 98% of our neighbors but hate the ones who play their music too loud or who always drive over our lawn. There may be days I don’t really want to love the guy whose dog ate the heads off my daylilies, but Jesus says I don’t have a choice. It’s not love if there are conditions”.

It’s easy to hate the people who hurt us or abandon us, it’s easy to hate the people who are different from us, and it’s easy to hate the people who are just plain annoying. But Jesus calls us to love one another as he loved us. It’s hard to do that! There are some people who we may think don’t deserve love – the people who fill up our prisons, the person who drove drunk and killed a family of four, the people who try to attack our personal beliefs. Yet, that’s not how Jesus taught us to behave. He hung around the prostitutes and the tax collectors – people whom others hated! – and he gave them his perfect love. We are called today to give out love like Jesus did – to everyone, especially the unlovable. Today we are called to not only love our family and friends, but everyone whom we come in contact with. We are called to ask ourselves, 'how have I been an example of Jesus’s unconditional and perfect love? How can I spread universal and selfless love through my actions and words? And how can I eliminate hate from my life?'

In today’s readings, we can look at the replacement of Judas by Matthias in two ways. To begin, Judas betrayed Jesus. Have I? During middle school the group of friends I hung out with liked to make fun of the Catholic faith. During lunches they would make fun of the “silly” things that Catholics did, like holding hands during prayer or how we all drank from the same cup of Blood. These were my closest friends, but they were attacking my core beliefs. However, I never once stood up and defended my faith: I remained silent. Like Judas, I had betrayed Jesus by denying my Savior. That guilt always weighed heavily on me and I prayed every night for the courage to be a better person, one who would defend her faith. Like the readings today where the disciples had to replace Judas, I too had to soul search and pray to replace the piece of Judas that I had in my heart. The disciples had to soul search through their shame, confusion and sin and I too had to search. One day, when my friends were once again on their Catholic bashing rant, I spoke out and told them that I was Catholic and that I didn’t appreciate it when they made fun of the things that I so deeply believed in. Like the disciples, I replaced my “Judas” with my own “Matthias”. To the disciples, Matthias was an answer to prayer and a result of repentance and healing. We all need a “Matthias” to help us to get to the Lord. Instead of trying to hide our confusion and shame, we need to pray to get rid of the “Judas” we have in our lives and pray for a “Matthias”.

Another way to look at this reading is to see Matthias as a representation of the “latecomer.” I only started coming to my church youth group during high school, yet all the others who were involved had known each other and been involved since they were in diapers. I felt totally left out. I felt like an afterthought, a latecomer, and I was afraid that the others in the group resented that a new person was added to their group. Yet this reading about the addition of Matthias calls us to try to see our community as not complete without the newcomer. We are called to welcome the newcomers into our community as someone who was chosen by God.

Today we are called to ask ourselves, 'do we have a bit of Judas in our lives? How can we pray to heal ourselves and let in a Matthias to guide us to the Lord? And how can we welcome and love the newcomers in our community as the disciples did for Matthias?'

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