Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment. Love one another as I have loved you."
Hardly a NEW commandment for us!
Surely these words rank among the most familiar in the Gospels.
This is only fitting because they are, I believe, among the most fundamental words in the whole of Christian teaching.
Their meaning goes back to the first logical question man might well ask of God.
"Why did you create?"
And God answers, "Because, above all, I want to share... above all, I am altruistic!"
Creation is unique. It is defined as the act of making something out of nothing. Only God TRULY creates in that he conceives and wills into existence.
No tools, no paint brushes, no computer, no building blocks, no materials here.
Concentrating, for now, on the creation of living beings, we observe that every living being, from a blade of grass to an infant child, has a soul.
A soul being defined as the first intrinsic principle of life in a living thing.
When the blade of grass dies; when the most beautiful of birds and the best loved dog or cat dies, its life principle, its soul, has served its purpose and ceases to exist.
This is essential to material renewal on earth.
But when the CHILDíS life cycle is complete, whether that completion is attained through natural causes or by way of violence, its soul does not die and return to the earth or sea.
It enters a new dimension where it finds its true destiny in the company of the angels, saints, and of course, the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The destiny of ALL living things reflects the Creator's ultimate purpose of SHARING.
In the case of the blade of grass or even the beloved pet, it is a destiny that is fulfilled within the context of TIME, but apparently always within yet another context as well... the sacred context of sharing. The example of the beloved and significant pet is obvious but let us not overlook the blade of grass that not only lends its verdant beauty to our parks and homes but keeps the soil moist for the worm to thrive and thus the bird to dine.
Our destiny is partly fulfilled within the context of time but primarily and uniquely within that of eternity and always within that same SACRED context of SHARING.
And the coin of this sharing is TRUTH and GOODNESS or, if you prefer, KNOWING and LOVING as befits our unique rational nature.
This sharing takes place within a framework of sickness and health, sadness and joy, hope and despair, hatred and love, sinfulness and virtue, poverty and wealth.
Why such complexity? Because we are free creatures. We function far above INSTINCT. We choose and we reject. Therein lies the potential for our downfall but also the value of our gift, of our altruism, of our love... the potential for generous, self-sacrificing love that places us amongst the Creator's masterpieces.
It is in us, above all others that he shares, that he achieves the goal of creation.
How great is Godís love for us? It is beyond measurement. It is infinite and reaches it's ultimate expression in eternal life... eternal truth... eternal goodness through, with and in Jesus who remains forever one of us without compromising his divinity. Jesus who, at this moment, says to us, "Love one another as I have loved you." Not as much, mind you , but as...
HOW? Grow in years with grace. Accept what you cannot change and change what you can. Above all, share your Faith through attitude and example having accepted that peace that the world cannot give... a peace that is a personal gift from Jesus. It is yours for the asking.