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Just Look at Love

First Reading: Acts 16:1-10

Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 5

R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Gospel: John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”

NAB

april 30

I don’t relish the idea of being hated. As a matter of fact, I can hardly stand not to be liked, or to have someone mad at me.

But I do very much desire to be like Christ.

And that means I have a choice to make.

I can live the people-pleasing life of a lover of the world, or I can live a God-centered life and accept the inevitable consequence of being hated by the world.

I’d rather have both, but Jesus makes it clear that I cannot.

But I’m learning that being hated by the world doesn’t feel as awful as I feared it might.

Because if I truly love Jesus, He takes me out of the world, makes me something “other” and “alien” to its ways. And in that otherness, there is nothing that I can do to fit in and find my real identity and purpose in that world.

The realization that I do not have to cling to the world because I never have and never will belong to it is freeing. The cutting of ties with the world’s ways that Jesus does when He claims me as His own frees me to follow Him wholeheartedly and unafraid.

You cannot lose what you never had, and I’ve never had the world’s love. The world is incapable of loving me because I belong to Christ.

So I have nothing to lose in turning my back to it and throwing all my energy into the wide open arms of God.

I can love him completely because the world never offered me anything worth loving anyway.

And if I keep my eyes trained on Love himself, I never see the world’s hateful snarls anyway.

Meditate today on the things you fear your faith will cost you. And then imagine yourself turning away from them and looking into the eyes of God the Father. Write yourself a little reminder note that says “Look at Love” and place it where you can see it daily.

photo credit

Colleen Mitchell is wife to Greg and mother to five amazing sons here on earth. They serve in Costa Rica where they run the St. Francis Emmaus Center, a ministry that welcomes indigenous mothers into their home to provide them access to medical care, support and education in the weeks before and after the birth of a child. Find out more about her here.

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