Friday, November 17, 2006

32nd Friday in Ordinary Time (II)
The Struggle that is Love

Readings: 2 John 4-9; Psalm 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18; Luke 17:26-37

We all know for a fact that there are many people in the world for whom life is a struggle. We may think, for example, of the many people – poor and middle-class alike – for whom it is a daily struggle simply to make ends meet, let alone to get ahead in society. But isn’t there also another group of people who struggle in a different way? On top of the many different stresses and strains of daily life, these voluntarily, even spontaneously, take on an added responsibility and commitment. They struggle to keep a clean conscience, to think of the welfare of others both near and far, to act in Christ-like ways at home, in school, on the roads, in the work-place. And, often enough, they pay a price for their efforts – whether in the form of the scorn or misunderstanding of others, or the loss of career prospects, or simply the humble realization of their own sinfulness and moral weakness.

These are the people who struggle to live what John talks about in the first reading today: This is the commandment which you have heard since the beginning, to live a life of love. And whatever the popular media may tell us, to choose to live such a life is also to choose to struggle, because love is effortful. To choose such a life is to live in a manner contrary to the people described in the gospel – the people of Noah’s day, and of Lot’s day, and also of Jesus’ day and ours as well – who were eating and drinking… buying and selling, planting and building…

And yet, that’s not the end of the story. Although it may not sound like it, the readings of today actually proclaim good news – especially for those who struggle to love. The day will come when the Son of Man is revealed. And then all will know the truth of what we heard in the responsorial psalm: they are happy who follow God’s law… who do his will seeking him with all their hearts. Indeed happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied…

How are we being called to struggle today?

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