Hi! I am honored you chose to view this Sunday reflection with me. Today, I would like to read from the second reading of the Revised Common Lectionary, Romans 13 verses 8 to 14 and it reads like this…
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
Grace and peace are yours, from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
I came across a true story when I was reading a commentary by John Brittain. It tells how the two sons of a ninety-year-old Fort Worth, Texas woman were worried about her safety. “We are going to get you a pistol, mother, so you can take care of yourself. There is too much violence out there.” So, they bought their mother a gun, which she dutifully packed in her purse. One day, when she left Ridgmar Shopping Center to get into her car she found two young men sitting in the front seat. She took out the pistol, pointed it at them, and said: “Get out of that car or I’ll shoot.” They jumped out and ran off. She got into the car, put the key in the ignition, and it did not fit. Then she realized it was not her car. She said she would have apologized to the two young men, but she could not find them.
Good thing no one got hurt! However, it shows us that pre-conceived notions and stereotypes can misguide us, and in some cases, it can turn into a tragedy.
The Apostle Paul asks his readers to “wake up”, it’s time to see clearly, not blurry as in a dream. It is enough to just to take for granted what we get in our heads without much fundament and just believe it. Individualism is hurting us so much, and Paul is calling us to just love our neighbor for real. Our neighbor is the one closest or connected to us and any given time. That means, our group is big and diverse.
Therefore, in a society that calls for separatism, privileges and polarization, we hear a call for unity among our diversity. Sadly, every time churchgoers don’t agree to disagree, a new denomination is formed, and we keep fracturing the body of Christ. What’s up with that? The point is not how we live our Christian lives but why we live it together. Our society divides us on ethical issues, and it is good to have our ethical beliefs. But, the selfishness of thinking that it is our way or the highway, is divisive and destructive. There is no middle ground in Christ’s mandate to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Our baptismal call to work for justice and peace, requires an understanding that, as we read in this passage of Paul, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” The law was not meant to keep people in oppression, repression and submission. The law is meant to help us respect each other, because when we do that, we won’t fear the other. When there is fear because of a so-called law, it doesn’t come from love, or God.
Jesus showed us a way of mercy and grace. His death on the cross cost him all he had, and he gave it out of love for us. That grace and love is sufficient for us to live in true justice, because love is the fulfillment of the law. In response to that love, how are we going to love our neighbors this week, including those we consider enemies or different than us? Let us ask God to help us not to be selfish, and as a community, to wake up and see clearly. Amen.
Let us pray,
Gracious and loving God, we have been hit by so many negative factors this year. We pray for those that are depressed and emotionally tired. For those confused by so much division. Give them peace, direction, and wisdom to make the right choices. Give us your Church, the courage to truly love selflessly, so your perfect law may shine and bring peace amidst disruption. Thank you for your grace, mercy and power. We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen.
I am grateful for your virtual company. Thanks for your comments and likes. As I come to the end of this reflection, I wish you health and peace. Here’s the blessing…
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.