“No Greater Love”

John 15e.pngIt is perhaps fitting that Holy Week follows closely on the heels of Valentine’s Day (which this year begins Valentine’s Day), since the Divine Love of Christ (Agape) surpasses, in significance, the secular and culturally commercialized love of Cupid (Eros). Indeed, Holy Week brings new and profound level of comprehension to the genuine meaning of “love.”

The love of Jesus during Holy Week was expressed in many ways: the humility of love, with Jesus riding on a donkey, along a pathway strewn with palm branches: the compassion of love, washing the feet of the Disciples; the sacrificial generosity of love, sharing the Holy Sacraments with those Disciples; the ultimate commitment of love, as expressed through Jesus prayers to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, the endurance of love, carrying the excruciating burden of the cross along the Via Dolorosa; the courage of love, suffering the blows and hideous torture of Pilate’s soldier’s and henchmen, and then even upon Jesus’ final expiration the blatant, love-borne honesty and irony of the truth, when the centurions who cast lots for Jesus’s robe failed to recognize that they had just witness the greatest Act of Love the world would ever know!

Come along with me over the next forty days in this season of lent, as we take some time for scripture reading, meditation, reflection, as well as prayer, as we journey with Christ the Savior of the world. As I share with you who this Jesus truly is and why would anyone ever die for you on a cross, because of His Great Love for the world. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believers in his shall not perish but have eternal life.                            John 3:16

My command is this: Love each other as I have love you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.                             John 15:13

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father:

Be with us as we journey during this season of lent as we read your scriptures and spend time alone with you to draw close to you, our Lord and Savior.

Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Meaning of Agape!

Matthew 5.pngYou have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you. love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get” Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.                                              Matthew 5:43-48

 The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament. How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word loveagape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Jesus never said to love our enemies with the same love we have for our loved ones. It would be totally impossible and it wouldn’t be right. The essence of the word is different. This is quite another kind of love. For example, our love for our loved ones is different, we can’t help loving them. Then there is love that we describe as falling in love. We don’t have to go and look for this love. It comes to us and it is born from the emotions in the heart. But in the case of our enemies, love is not only something from the heart, it also includes something of the will. It is not something that comes spontaneously, we must will ourselves to do it. It is a victory and triumph over what comes to us instinctively.

Agape doesn’t mean the feeling of the heart, that which we cannot help and which is born without us asking for it. It is through determination of the mind that we want to demonstrate unconquerable good to those who wish to harm us. Agape is the ability to love those we don’t like and who don’t like us. We can only have agape if Christ enables us to overcome our natural tendency towards anger and bitterness.

So it is clear and explicit that the last thing agape or Christian love means is to allow others to do exactly as they please. This means that Christian discipline and punishment should not be aimed at vengeance, but at healing.

Love of God is the root, love our neighbor the fruit of the Tree of Life. Neither can exist without the other, but the one is cause and the other effect. (William Temple)

 

Prayer: Holy Spirit of God, help me to have the ability to love my enemies with Christian love.            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends