March 12, 2022 – Saturday First Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/031222.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 but 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, effort, extra time and presence 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 was what Jesus criticized about. And this is also the very attitude that Jesus wants us to get out and go beyond. When complacency becomes our way of life, we become stagnant and won’t grow. When indifference is our attitude, we become detached and isolated from God and from others.
Remember, when we truly love somebody, this love does not settle with the minimum, but always at the maximum. In many of us, this kind of loving beyond the minimum is being experienced at home where parents sacrifice and 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 the public such as teachers, nurses, doctors, etc.
Hence, Jesus calls us now is to go beyond what is minimum. and let it flow into our relationships too and in the expression of our faith. This is done by loving our enemies and by making them our friends, at least in our own perspective. Do not just settle down to what is only self-beneficial 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 our relationships be founded on it, our profession and work be its inspiration, and our faith be its power. Hinuat pa.