Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

September 4, 2011

Justin McCarthy

Senior, Medical Anthropology Major

Ez 33:7-9
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Rom 13:8-10
Mt 18:15-20

A common thread I see throughout today’s readings are the duties of love.

I was once told that the opposite of love is not hate, but rather indifference. If the essence of love is caring for another as you do for yourself, and I believe it is, then indifference must be its antonym.

As Christians we are called to be “Christ-like.” Michael J. Himes wrote in Doing the Truth in Love that God cannot ever be fathomed but is least misunderstood as Agapic love, a true outpouring of self gift. According to Himes, “We praise and serve God essentially by loving our neighbor, so if you wish to find God, give yourself away.” Given this foundation, it logically follows that if we are to be Christians then we are called to love agapically, to give entirely of ourselves; there is no room for indifference in this calling.

When we examine today’s readings through this lens, we can appreciate their magnamity all the more. Upon reading Ezekiel 33:7-9, I found our being held responsible for the evil done by others to be repelling. However, when I try to reconcile not warning the wicked of their errors with being Christ-like, I can’t. The truth is, it is indifference, which is the opposite of Christ.

Romans 13:8-10 sums up the law in one concise phrase, “To love our neighbor as ourselves.” By accomplishing agapic love we simultaneously adhere to the Ten Commandments, because “Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law”(Romans 13:10). The law is in place to free us from the entrapments of sin and sorrow, to guide our steps along the narrow way, to lead us to become images of Christ.

But the culmination of today’s readings comes at the end of the Gospel: “Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). When we come together in communion- the sharing of intimate thoughts and feelings- we bring God into that moment; we are giving entirely of ourselves, agape, and God exists in that.

When we fail to show one another the error in our ways because of indifference we are denying our Christ-like image by becoming the opposite of love. Love, and therefore the essence of God, is fulfilled in action. As carriers of God we are called to love through deed; be that feeding the poor, clothing the naked, or helping the wicked atone for their sins.

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