May 14, 2008
Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
John 15: 9-17
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I know love cannot happen by way of a doctrinal definition, but only through a living encounter with you as Redeemer and Lord. You want this encounter not to be a one-time experience, which gathers dust as the years pass; rather, you use the words “abide” and “remain.” I want to have a new encounter with you every day, every moment, until I truly have blossomed into a state of constant and effective union with you.
Petition: Lord God, grant me a more sincere spirit of commitment to your things.
1. Divine Love Is Not Free The love of Christ is unconditional for the sinner, the poor, and the struggling; however, it is not cheap love. It comes at the price of sincere commitment. If I think a deeper fervor and love will be mine while I hold onto a mediocre lifestyle, I am living an illusion. Do I want to experience the presence of Christ today? I must first commit myself and be more faithful than ever to what he is asking of me. I must reflect deeply on what my conscience and faith have been asking from me. I must give my heart to it, for this is the only way to possess the living God.
2. Someone Special for God Many people who hope to be thought important will do ambitious and even sinful things. Underneath is a secret longing to be someone special. Because this desire is so strong in the human heart, one can only believe it can be found healthily in God. To be a friend of God touches us deeply. It is a gift that Jesus offers us. No work we can do, no sacrifice we can make merits it. At the same time, being a friend of God is not a privilege or right granted to the nominal believer. Only those souls who have made themselves vessels that will not profane or dissipate this treasure will be suitable recipients. His home is among his faithful ones—they may be imperfect and struggle, but they are sincere with Christ’s standards in their actions. Christ goes out everyday to seek out his friends, to let them know that they are loved and needed, that they are special for God and the mission. Can I not join their ranks today?
3. Fruit That Will Last Am I bringing forth the fruit that is appointed to me? What does my heart call “success”? Where does it stop to satisfy itself? What occupies it in quiet moments? The fruit that lasts, that brings true fulfillment, is revealed by a living faith, but it is also signed by the emptiness of this world’s definition of success. Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord tries to convict us about living a worldly life: “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:12-13). Living for him will absolutely bring this fruit to bear. This is the fruit that lasts.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to pay the price of love and fruitfulness, a price that says that I am sincere and worthy to receive your gift. I will take care to cherish your presence—in choosing that which pleases you and in aspiring to live the promise of so many saints, preferring to die rather than to act against your will for me. What good are the goods of this life if you do not accompany them?
Resolution: I will prepare to make a good sacramental confession this week to ground my heart in a more sincere and honest commitment to Christ.
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