The Gospel according to John (15:12-16)
Jesus said to his disciples: “”This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.””
Reflection: The work involved of building a “Society of Love” is understanding that we’re not trying to “win over people, but to win people over”. By winning then there is a clear loser…. But in nonviolence, the real victory is when everyone is on the same side.
It’s easy to love someone you are close to but is it so easy to love a friend, or acquaintance; or how about loving a perfect stranger? Now dependent on what your answers were to the above questions, would you give up your life for all of them? I think about the agents of the Secret Service and how they are vowed to protect our dignitaries or politicians. They are sworn to “take a bullet” to protect them. So, are they doing this out of commitment for their job or because they care for another human?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “Violence can never heal the harm that has been done. Violence can never bring about reconciliation. Violence can never create Beloved Community. Only love can do that.”
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolby. In 1941, he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where under terrible circumstances he continued to work as a priest and offer solace to fellow inmates. When the Nazi guards selected 10 people to be starved to death in punishment, Kolbe volunteered to die in place of a stranger who pleaded for his life because of his family. He was later canonized as a martyr.
The men and women at “Homeboy Industries’ who once were willing to kill their rival but now they willingly embrace each other. What is it that changed their minds? Are they doing this because they are committed to a job or committed to the fellowship of Christ? Fr. Greg Boyle Says, “Only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. The prophet Habakkuk writes, “The vision still has its time, presses onto fulfillment and it will not disappoint . . . and if it delays, wait for it.”
Words from today’s scripture: “I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain”.
Action of the Day: St. Maximilian Kolby’s’ Prayer. Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we, too, may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, St. Maximilian Kolbe. Amen. Three Hail Mary’s and a Glory Be.