Fifth Sunday of Easter: Love One Another

Among my family and friends, there are a number of couples who have very good marriages. Every person among them will affirm, and affirm vigorously, that making their marriage has been hard work. Not hard work in the sense of drudgery. Rather this hard work is more like that of an artist or an engineer bringing into being a new creation. It takes skill, imagination, the commitment of hours, attention to detail, faithfulness in the boring patches, but especially devotion from the depths of the self. In short, it takes true love. Yet the commitment of marriage is even greater than that of the artist or engineer. They can walk away from their creation, or take a holiday. True love in marriage and in families doesn’t have that luxury. And it is not just in marriage that such love occurs.

The story of Sr Rachel Fassera, an Italian nun working in Uganda, is overwhelming . When students in her care were kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, she tracked through the jungle and begged, prayed and nagged until most of them were released. The account of this incident shows the complexity and difficulty that love must sometime negotiate in this real and messy world.

When Jesus tells us to love as he has loved us, he is not speaking of a sweet and gentle love that makes life easy. No, he is talking of bringing us, weak and broken as we are to the fullness of life in our real and messy world. When I seriously consider the love that Jesus has shown to me, I must admit that he does embrace me as I am….but he doesn’t let me stay that way. From tender suggestions to vigorous and sometimes unpleasant rebukes, he works on me, trying to induce, encourage and sometimes almost, dare I say it, bully me into a richer and fuller life. And he asks me in turn to show that love. Why am I fearful to do so? Perhaps because I am nervous of receiving such an overwhelming love. But I need not fear. Jesus is still working on me.

Adapted from Renew International Prayer Time