Congratulations to our young adults who were confirmed Monday evening. I pray that following the guidance of the Spirit will always be a primary value in your lives. We support you with our prayers and example.
In our first reading, Peter is struggling to get his mind around the reality that Gentiles are also called to be Christians: it won’t just be “the chosen” Jews. In both our second reading and the Gospel, we find the word “love” nine times: nine times in each!
The message is clear as can be: we must love one another, and that isn’t for just the members of our family or our nation or of our religion. We are to love all. We like to put conditions on it, but I am afraid we will find out there are no conditions.
Most of us do not hurt others physically. But I repeat the point I made last week: gossip and character assassination are sinful and wrong. Yes, people are different from us; yes, people do things wrong; yes, people have different beliefs; yes, people might hurt us. But when we gossip and spread ill will about them, when we take to social media to cut someone down, it is wrong and brings a lot of unhappiness into the world.
No doubt sickness and death and other events (like losing a job) bring unhappiness. But my experience is that a significant part of the unhappiness in our world would be avoided if we followed the call of our readings today. I invite each of us to reflect this week on the following words from our Gospel: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. And let us support each other by example and prayer.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS