This I command you: love one another. (John 15: 17)
A few weeks ago, a wave of pain swept over me at reported comments by a leader about immigrants from the global south. You’d think by now I would be desensitized to political rhetoric, but this time, he hit a nerve. In the Gospel, Jesus reiterates what God commanded the Israelites at Mount Herob, by asking us to love one another—by asking me to love this leader. As I write this, traces of Valentine’s Day still linger, with drugstores selling chocolates and other niceties at a huge discount. This great ode to love coincided with Ash Wednesday this year, a quandary for some but also a subtle pointer in another direction. Lent is the precursor of the greatest demonstration of love in the history of humanity. Lent is a constant reminder of the gift that God has continually offered to humanity from the beginning of time.
As those entrusted with great responsibilities in the political arena continue to fail the least amongst us; as neighbors turn against one another; as separatist words—illegal, alien, them—are bandied around with ever increasing frequency; our love faucets need to be turned to maximum. Only a great outpouring of love will turn hearts of stone into flesh once more. Only love will salve the wounds of those who are hurting and broken. Love begets hope and love will hasten our feet and ease our journey towards God whom our soul longs and aches for. It’s imperative that we choose love!