Jesus said to his disciples, “This I command you: love one another.” John 15:17
I count 18 instances of the word “love” in today’s readings.
The message is very clear.
Today I choose love in its many forms: listening attentively to others, speaking respectfully to everyone I encounter, helping someone in need, thanking others for their help, treating all people with kindness and courtesy, refraining from gossip and negative criticism, rejoicing in the beauty of creation, spending quiet time alone with the Lord.
“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.” John 15:4-5a
Our lives are entwined with the Lord. God’s love supports us, feeds us, guides us, inspires us.
Today I choose to remain in kindness and compassion.
Having bought a linen cloth, [Joseph of Aramathea] took [Jesus] down, wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mark 15:46
The story of Jesus’ Passion is deeply distressing with its matter-of-fact narration of the human experiences of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, injustice, cruelty, mockery, bullying, abuse, pain, and suffering.
And yet… and yet it ends with caring and tenderness as Joseph of Aramathea removes Jesus’ body from the cross, wraps it gently in fine linen, and lays it to rest.
It seems to me that compassion and kindness will always be the last words in our human story.
Lord, help me to reach out with your tender careto those who are suffering and in need.