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Loving in the real world

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Luke 5:30-32
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Jesus was being so polite here. He did not name the Pharisees as those who needed the doctor, but they were. Their arrogance is only equaled by my own, of course, when I say I could not possibly be as closed-minded as those nasty Pharisees.

If I think about myself at all I am neatly and tightly sewn into my own perspective, and thereby lose most of what God might want to show me.

When Jesus ate dinner with Levi the tax-collector, political correctness did not influence his decision. Discovering Jesus walking around on the edges or better still, in the middle of my own life simply means that I spend time with those he spent time with, do things the way he did.

I think Mother Teresa epitomizes that model. She writes,

There are many medications and cures for all kinds of sick people. But unless kind hands are given in service and generous hearts are given in love, I do not think there can ever be any cure for the terrible sickness of feeling unloved.

It may happen that a mere smile, a short visit, the lighting of a lamp, writing a letter for a blind man, carrying a bucket of charcoal, offering a pair of sandals, reading the newspaper for someone - something small, very small - may in fact, be our love of God in action. Listening, when no one else volunteers to listen, is no doubt a very noble thing.

Holiness grows fast where there is kindness. I have never heard of kind souls going astray. The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness.*

She tells me to ask myself how God has loved me, and then to love others the same way. And not to underestimate what God has done for me:

Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.**

Lord, when I think of myself let me ask the good question, "How have you loved me?" And let me count the ways.

*In the Heart of the World - Thoughts, Stories, Prayers by Mother Teresa


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