I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. – Jesus
Love one another. That was Jesus’ simple instruction to his friends. Loving one another – as he loved them – was how others would know they were his followers.
And while he said that to Peter and James and John and the others in a variety of ways, he says the same thing to us every single day. As I love you, so you should love one another.
It isn’t complicated, but it sure isn’t always easy.
Our homilist used a Flannery O’Connor quote to give his interpretation of the gospel. It is a typical Flannery O’Connor idea, cloaked in darkness and wrapped in confusing spirituality.
In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber.
What? How can tenderness lead to the gas chamber? Oh, Flannery….
I did some follow-up research on this because the notion of tenderness is so appealing that it was beyond me to understand how that could lead to anything as awful as a gas chamber.
Here’s how I finally wrapped my head around the notion, if not exactly embracing it. I substituted the word tenderness with the word compassion. And I can understand how someone who supposedly has really good intentions could think it was compassionate to end the life of, say, a mentally handicapped person.
Her point? Tenderness must go hand-in-hand with faith.
Not wanting to wallow in the darkness of the brilliant O’Connor, I chose to look, instead, at a good example of loving others as Christ loves us.
There is an usher at the church we attend in Mesa. I don’t know how long he has been an usher, but at least for as long as we have attended that church – since 2010. He takes his role very seriously, and I mean that in a good way. He cares for the people who attend “his” 9 o’clock Mass, especially the seniors. He assists them to their seats and makes sure their walkers are where they can see them. He makes sure that each of them receives communion without having to leave their seats. If he sees anyone (and he always does) leaving the church during Mass, he makes sure they are okay. He greets all of us and smiles at everyone. At the end of Mass, he makes sure the seniors are reunited with their walkers.
Our usher is an example of someone loving others in the same way that Christ loves us. I think that he displays tenderness coupled entirely with faith.
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