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           You’ve probably seen this on postage stamps or Valentine cards, but I think it’s based on a sculpture in Philadelphia.  The sculpture is the centerpiece of a public gathering area.  I once visited the site, and I was at once struck by the sheer amount of people who were gathered there.  It was a locus of activity, with people talking, laughing, playing, and overall, enjoying life. 
            I doubt that most of those gathered were Christian, and probably fewer still had an understanding of the new commandment, but yet they all wanted to gather at a sculpture that contains a word that is the foundation our faith: love.  It gave me hope that authentic love can still speak to our culture.  Whether it is the love of a husband for his wife, or of a mother for her children, or a consecrated woman for the world that she embraces in her vow of chastity, love has the capacity to communicate to another something of the beauty, nobility, and dignity of being human.  Love opens the pathway in a person to encounter the living God.
            In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.  As with all of Jesus’ words, He will reinforce this teaching through His actions to let us know what exactly this means:  He will literally lay down His life for His friends on the cross. Earlier in the reading, He announces that now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified.  It is hard to understand how the crucifixion is the glorification of God.  And yet, on the cross, the true glory of God is unveiled, just as the veil in the temple was torn in two:  God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, so that all who believes in Him might have eternal life.  The cross speaks definitively to us that God has truly loved us to the end.  This is glory that defies the imagination, but more importantly, it is the love that opens the pathway for humanity to be reconciled to the Father.
            Jesus shows us what love is and what love is capable of on the cross.  And, lest we think that it is only God who loves, He reminds us that all will know we are His disciples if we have love for one another.  As audacious as it sounds, when we authentically love another person, we participate in the redemptive work of the Son.  We, through, with, and in Christ, are capable of bringing many sons to glory.

Who has God placed in your life that is in most need of love? How is God calling you to love them

- Sister M. Mediatrix, FSGM


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