Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary time
Our love in the Spirit
There is a very helpful lesson about charity in our readings today. Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law so that “she got up immediately and waited on them.” Jesus heals her with the result that she comes into the circle of charity that he has come to bring to us in this world: he heals her out of love and she exercises love in return. And we should not miss the direction of this loving. She not only loves by giving to Jesus and the disciples but also authentically loves herself and knows herself loveable, by welcoming the current of love that Jesus has brought.
Too often the command to love one’s neighbor is seen as something which may be taken as placing too much emphasis upon what I have to do or not do. But first of all, this command to love is given to me, and I do it, as a disciple of divine love that is coming into the world through me. It’s actually a gift!
St. Paul expresses his gratitude for this in our first reading today from Colossians 1:
We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, … for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven….[something we learned ] from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who … also told us of your love in the Spirit.
Notice that the love that’s being given and received in the Christian life is “in the Spirit.” It is not simply or even primarily a moral imperative – like, do good and avoid evil. It is learning to live always in the current of love that Jesus has first brought us.
This way of coming at the whole matter of love frees us from so many worries about not loving enough – yes, we cannot love enough! – but this should not be the emphasis of our loving. Rather, we are invited into the divine stream of love initiated by Christ when he poured out the Spirit upon us – the fruit of his Easter gift! It is Christ’s joy coming into our lives in His Spirit!
What is more, the direction of this love is “because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.” This gift of divine love is drawing us to “the hope reserved” for us in heaven!
Reflection by Fr. Xavier Nacke, OSB