March 7, 2020 – Saturday 1st Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/030720.cfm)
“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that?”
These questions are not from me, but from Jesus for all of us.
Loving those who love us or being friendly with those who are only our friends means that we are only doing what is minimum and easy which requires less effort from us.
Have you met persons who live their life to what is only minimum?
There are people who tend to work to what is only expected from them. They won’t be late yet they will never come early. They will be the first person to “time out” and the first person out of the door. They won’t dare going an extra mile yet, we cannot accuse them of not doing their job.
There are also some of us who fulfill their Sunday obligation or other religious obligations and stop there. Yet, they would also stop from extending themselves to do some volunteer works or from joining solidarity causes of the Church.
There might be some of us also who would tend to relate with others in a casual and in a minimum encounter with others. This minimum encounter does not require us of building deeper relationship but only superficial. It does not require more energy and effort of extending oneself for the other. It only stays to what is safe, not risky and self-beneficial.
Hence, doing what is only minimum can become an attitude of complacency and would developed into indifference. This is what Jesus was criticizing about. And this is also the very attitude that Jesus wants us to get out and to go beyond. When we become complacent, we become stagnant and won’t grow. When we become indifferent, we become detached and isolate ourselves from God and from others.
Remember, when we truly love somebody, this love does not do the minimum, but always the maximum. And surely, to many of us, this kind of loving beyond the minimum is being experienced at home where parents sacrifice or go an extra mile to provide better opportunities for their children. This is also experienced among couples who take the risk of loving each other despite their differences. This is also showed by people who work tirelessly to serve others such as teachers, nurses, doctors, etc.
What Jesus is calling us now is that in our relationships too and in the expression of our faith, go beyond what is minimum. And this is done by loving our enemies and by making them our friends, at least in our own perspective. Not just to settle down to what is only beneficial for us but to extend ourselves to others by becoming more generous of ourselves and presence to those who need company, friendship and assurance of love and affection.
Though there is beauty in minimalism and goodness in it but not in loving. Do not be a minimalist in loving because it won’t be love anymore. Love as much as we can as God has done it for us. Express such love in concrete ways and let your relationships be founded on it, your profession and work be its inspiration, and our faith be its power. Hinuat pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR