Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 15:22-31; John 15:12-17)
Sr. Marie Chin was a Sister of Mercy from Jamaica. She became famous as a speaker on the spirituality of mercy. She told the story of how she discovered mercy with the help of a leper. When she was in secondary school she accompanied a woman religious to a leper colony. Knocking on the door of one of the huts, they heard a voice from inside say, “Come in.” Entering, she saw a something that repulsed here. The leper, named Miss Lillian, had a completely deformed face. She stretched out her arm, which was little more than a stump without fingers, to the youth. “Go on,” Miss Lillian said, “put your hand in mine.” Marie responded, “I can’t; I’m afraid.” But the leper woman said, “Yes, you can.” Marie did not know where the grace came to touch that rotten hand. But all of sudden she found herself shaking hands with the leper. The story helps explain why Jesus has to command us to love one another.
As anyone over twenty should realize, love is often not easy. For this reason Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky called love in action “a harsh and dreadful thing.” Love, after all, requires commitment and often suffering as well. Most of us would never love everybody, and some of us might never love anybody without Jesus’ command. Also necessary to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of loving as he loved is his help.
We ought not to worry if we do not feel affection for others. That is not of the essence of love. We should, however, treat everyone with respect. Those for whom we feel a particular repulsion we can, at least, pray for. We pray that they receive God’s grace to become better people and that will come to know his eternal love.