May 15, 2010

"Your ID please."

5th Sunday of Easter (C)
May 2, 2010
John 13:31-35 “This is how all will know that you are my disciples …”

Our gospel brings us to the last moments of Jesus where he bids goodbye to his disciples. It is very human that when we leave, we want to be remembered. He wants to give his followers a lasting sign that will distinguish them from the rest of the world – the ability to love one another (John 13:35). A passport allows us to know each others’ nationality; but our love for one another will allow others to recognize us as disciples of Jesus.

Let’ stop for a while and reflect the following paradox of life I recently read:

“We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and divided families. More conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less love; more knowledge, but less good judgment. We have more experts, but fewer solutions; more medicine, but less health. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, but don’t know how to listen. We have learned how to make a living, but not a life; we have added years to life, not life to years. We have been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. We have higher incomes, but lower morals; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. We have cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul.” – Anonymous.

This paradox of life simply tells us that some of us have lost their Christian I.D.

In our gospel today, Jesus wants us to wear our Christian identity: our capacity to love one another. When we know how to love unconditionally, we become effective messengers of God’s love. People remember us not because we did great things for them; but because they felt our presence when they need us most. Anything done with great love – listening to your son, a good evening family meal, serving a cup of coffee to your dad or mom, stroll at the park with grandma, a warm morning greeting to a homeless, a surprise visit to a friend, a phone call just to say hello, a thank you note to your teacher and other small act of kindness – is worth remembering. Love spells T-I-M-E.

Do you still remember your favorite teacher in grade school or high school? I do. Her name is Miss Maria Calica. Her lovely face is still vivid in my memory. She gave me a bar of chocolate and a hug to ease my fear on my first day in school. That small act of kindness left a wonderful memory in my heart; that’s love – the disciples’ I.D.

It’s fun to walk in the famous Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Viewing the names of more than 2,000 movie stars engraved along the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard is interesting and entertaining; but everything ends there. But each time I walk through my own memory lane, it gives me joy and gratitude remembering people who touched my life - their kindness is deeply engraved in my heart. I will never forget them for the rest of my life.

- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ / Blessed Sacrament Parish, Hollywood / May 2, 2010

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