All You Need is Love
After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” They appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
- It’s no secret; following Jesus means sacrifice. 11 of the 12 Apostles die horrifically. Paul, a later addition, gets mercy in Rome and gets-off with a simple, fast beheading (as opposed to being dragged in the streets and ripped apart, for example). John, the lone survivor, dies at an old age in a prison on an island (Patmos). It is estimated that by 313 A.D., over 2 million Christians were martyred (talk about a holocaust). But, nobody denounced Christ and they went on a global road trip to spread the Gospel. What are you enduring for the Lord?
Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. R. Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might. R. Let them make known your might to the children of Adam, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations. R.
- A Kingdom for all ages……is that eons, millennia, centuries? Or, is it for baby boomers, generation X/Y-er’s, millenials? Is it both or more than just that? The Bible frequently references “this age” leading many to believe that our time on Earth is but a chapter in something broader. The Bible also encourages us to mature into and think like an adult while having the Faith of a child. How do you interpret “all ages”?
Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” The One who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
- Boy, it’s great getting something new. A new car. A new shirt. A new CD or a new song download for your MP3 player. A new Friend. A new home. A second chance. We now see a new Heaven and a new Earth. We’re told that in Heaven, we’ll get new bodies and a new name that only Jesus knows. I’m thinking that by the time I pull into the Eternal “pit-row”, my car will need four new tires, a full-body makeover for all the dings, dents, & scrapes, and a complete engine overall. My face will be covered in soot and my race suit will smell like a local Greek restaurant. But, to drink the glass of milk waiting for all of us in the Eternal “winners circle” will be awesome! And, guess what; all Believers get to Win! Does focusing on the “Eternal something new” allow us to deal with the current challenges a little better?
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you. R.
- God’s commandments are irreducibly simple. But, they are infinitely hard. It is hard to love everyone – especially the guy that just cut you off on GA-400. But, it’s pretty simple. How can we as men of Christ love unconditionally? What is stopping you today from loving freely?
John 13:31-33, 34-35
When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- Paul McCartney famously sang to us that, “all you need is love”. How rightly said. That is the obvious story in this week’s Gospel and probably where most Priests, Deacons, etc. will focus their Sermons. What might be easy to miss is that right after Judas departed to betray Christ, Jesus tells his Disciples, “now I and the Father are glorified”. In what is considered the most famous betrayal in His-story, Jesus loves. He doesn’t stop Judas; in fact, He even encourages him to “act quickly”. Kind of like pulling a Band-Aid off – the proverbial “let’s get this over with”. You see, Jesus knew that He had to die in order to establish the new Promise and Testament. He loved us so much that He came down from His throne in Heaven to become a common man and die a brutal death and show us the greatest love of all – to die for another. When have you been betrayed by another? Have you forgiven your Betrayer the way that Jesus has forgiven Judas? Or, how He has forgiven you?
This Week’s Prayer:
I will be strong and courageous. I will not fear nor be discouraged, for the Lord my God will be with me wherever I go. He will not fail nor forsake me.
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but He has given me a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.
There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear. I will fear no evil for You are with me. Goodness and mercy will follow me every day.
I will dwell with Jesus forever for it is God’s good will to give me the Kingdom of Heaven.
Deuteronomy 31:6; 2 Timothy 1:7; Luke 32:12; 1 John 4:18; John 17:13; Psalm 23: 4, 6