Depending on where you live, you will have celebrated the feast of the Ascension according to your diocesan regulations. One thing is for certain: the Apostles who thought they ‘lost’ Jesus on Good Friday, then reunited with him on Easter only to have to say goodbye again at the time of the Ascension, must have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. How were they to go on? Jesus did promise to send the Spirit and yet these were challenging times.
That brings me to this past Sunday’s readings, where Jesus ‘commanded’ us to ‘love one another’, and as our pastor said, it was not a suggestion, leaving us the option to pick and choose whom we love. How do you learn that? I think that during the three years Jesus was with the Apostles, he was teaching them how to love one another. You must admit they were a motley crew. Jesus taught them how to be good Christians by his example. Jesus did not train them how to be theologians but showed them how to live as Christians.
Sometimes we can place heavy emphasis on knowing the doctrine of faith. There is nothing wrong with that, but it should lead us to live compassionate lives, Christian lives, following the command to love one another. Therefore, he could say to them, “Go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” They experienced Jesus and slowly he began to transform them. We know the story and so know that with the coming of the Holy Spirit the Apostles became fearless in proclaiming the Gospel. They did not know all the answers and had to look at some difficult times as they spread the Gospel. One thing is for certain, and that is that Jesus modeled the way for them. One only needed to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts that were willing to be open.
What about us? Do we follow or even lead by example? There is that adage “practice what you preach.” Perhaps we need to practice more than we preach! This is a tough one, and then throw in ‘love one another.’ For me I know I would much rather see someone living an exemplary life and follow their ways, rather than have lots of words thrown at me and not see it happening. Loving one another, spreading the Kingdom of God and living the Gospel are all possible. So, let’s ask ourselves: where am I at this point in my spiritual journey?
I hope these questions lead to some thought-provoking reflections. Have a great week and God is always with us.
Till next week,
P.S.: This is one of the cards students at St. Gregory School in Tyler, Texas created for our postulants. Great reminder: Jesus loves you. We love you.