The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle

A New Commandment

April 24, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

April 24, 2016
John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Fr. George Smiga

In the gospel we have just heard, Jesus gives us a new commandment to love one another. But how is this commandment new? Earlier in his ministry a lawyer came up to Jesus and asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus responded, “It is to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.” This is a great love commandment. In what way, then, does today’s new love commandment move beyond the earlier love commandment? It differs because Jesus uses himself as the model of love. He says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” If Jesus is the model for loving, then the stakes of loving are raised much higher, because Jesus loved selflessly, and completely and universally.  

What Jesus is asking us to do in his new commandment is to love in a way that goes beyond normal human loving. Most of us try to love the people in our lives who deserve our love. But Jesus loved people who did not deserve his love. He loved Peter who denied him. He loved the criminal who hung on the cross next to him. He loved the woman who was caught in adultery. Most of us in our lives try to forgive people if they are sorry and if they ask for our forgiveness, but Jesus forgave those who crucified him even as they drove the nails through his hands and his feet. I think all of us try to love the people who belong to us: our children, our family and our friends. But Jesus loved the tax collector, the leper, and the prostitute.

It is not easy to follow Jesus’ new commandment of love because to love as Jesus loved is to adopt a love that is deep, radical and extreme. I think our first response to Jesus’ new command is frustration. How can anyone love this way? It is impractical. It is impossible. But the truth about Jesus’ new commandment is this: It is not only a demand. It is a gift. To love as Jesus loved is to do something that we cannot do on our own, by our own will power. Whenever we are able to love as Jesus loved, we know that it is through God’s grace. When we are able to forgive an enemy, to reach out and touch a leper, to show graciousness to those who do not deserve it, we know that God is working in us and through us. That makes us both humble and blessed.  

To love as Jesus loved is not easy, but it is a love that lasts. I believe that when we come to the end of our life and look back over the things we have done and the people we have become, it will be the times we have love as Jesus loved that we will remember.

I believe that all people of good will should be able to say on their death bed, “I Ioved my children, I was faithful to my friends, I was fair to people who were fair to me.” To say those things is to admit that you have lived your life as a good moral person. But my hope is that many of us here will be able to say more than that when our lives comes to an end. When we look back on the things we have done, my hope is that we will be able to remember when we forgave someone who hurt us deeply, when we made a difference in the life of someone we barely knew, when we showed mercy to those who have no right to expect it. To remember such actions is to recognize that we loved as Jesus loved and God worked through us. Such actions should give us peace and joy, because they would indicate that we lived our lives not simply just as good moral people but as disciples of Jesus.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options