Grace to you!
Today, I reflect on the blessing of being steadfast, whole, in our discipleship of the Lord, in terms of our love for one another.
You may have a friend who is always there for you. In moments of sorrow and joy, when you are worried and when you are under the weather. When everything around you seems to fail, if that friend stands by you, you could say the person has a complete, perfect commitment to your friendship. If you’ve had such friends, a rare gift, you’re indeed blessed.
Moms seem to possess this exceptional quality of unwavering loyalty to their children. They stand by us no matter what. Even when we mess up, they hang in there. It is not surprising that the prophesy of Isaiah would speak of God’s faithfulness to us. It uses the imagery of a nursing mom’s faithfulness to the baby to show God’s surpassing loving loyalty to us, the children (Is 49:15).
A mom is steadfast. A dad who stands by his child all the time, good, bad or ugly, is steadfast. A friend who doesn’t let us down is steadfast. You could say they have a complete loyalty to you. You could confidently say, “these are indeed” my true friends.
Another way to describe this sort of commitment is perfect loyalty because it is whole in its kind.
We read one of the most striking teachings of the Lord, an aspect of the Sermon on the Mount. The Lord says: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons [children] of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust…. You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:44-48).
Bible scholars give different interpretations of the above text, especially the command to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. It is a complex message to unpack.
For today, I would like us to ponder on it as a call to be steadfast, loyal, in our commitments in leading by way of charity. It is to be faithful in loving one another following the way God loves; the way God is faithful in His commitments to us His children.
God is ever perfect in providing for us. In your moments of need, always remember this. When we fail over and over again, God’s faithful love never fails. “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with my unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:3).
To live virtuously is to mirror this divine quality. It is to be loyal to our commitments to the Lord. It is to model our relationships with one another in the footsteps of the Lord. It is to love the way God loves. Which means we love anyway, whether the person is a friend, an enemy, a member of our family, religion or race or not; or a stranger.
I know this is certainly not possible by ourselves and efforts alone. We need God’s grace to do so. We need the grace to be whole in our own kind as humans in response to our responsibility to charity.
We come to the Lord, praying for the grace to love as we are loved, the grace to love one another in the footsteps of our Heavenly Father. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday Lent Week 2: Dt 26:16-19; Mt 5:43-48]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections for the season of Lent your individual spiritual edification. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations. .