Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 22, 2012: 3rd Sunday of Easter (B)

Sometimes, love touches us in a surprising way. Love likes to come at the most opportune time, when it's least expected. One evening this week, I made an appointment to see a couple in my office for consultation. Because they could not find a babysitter, I told them it was okay for them to bring the 2 and 4 year olds along with them. I told them I would find something to keep them busy. I arrived at the appointment late, so the family was exploring the church grounds. When I held out my hand for the 4 year old for a ‘five,’ she slapped my hand then unexpectedly she held onto my hand and wanted me to lead her to the office. So hand-in-hand we walked to the office. I found a DVD of a children’s show Veggie Tales and played it on my computer for them to watch. I handed each of them a chocolate bunny from Easter to munch on. Meanwhile, their parents and I were across the hall in another office to begin consultation. A short while later, the 4-year old peaked in, smiled, and said, “I just want to check on you guys.” She said it as if she was the mother checking on her kids.

The parents and I discussed a book that I had given them to read together called, “The Love Dare.” I read the short passage from a chapter entitled, “Love is Kind.” It reads, “Kindness is love in action. Being kind means you meet the needs of the moment. If it's housework, you get busy. A listening ear? You give it. Kindness thinks ahead, and then takes the first step. It doesn't sit around waiting to be prompted or coerced before getting off the couch. The kind husband or wife will be the one who greets first, smiles first, serves first, and forgives first. They don't require the other to get his or her act together before showing love. When acting from kindness, you see the need, then make your move. First. “

Reflecting on your week, how did your love for your spouse and family compare with what I just read to you? Did your love in action fit the definition of kindness where you were gentle, willing, and took initiative to act first on the need rather than wait? It is difficult to demonstrate love when we feel little to no motivation, but love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. We will not learn to love until we learn to demonstrate kindness.

That’s what Jesus was showing us in the Gospel. After the Resurrection, Jesus took the initiative to show himself to his disciples, the very disciples who abandoned Jesus when He was arrested. Yet Jesus thought not of his wounds but the needs of his disciples. He knew ahead of time that they felt as though their world was shaken, that they were abandoned, and felt alone.

Jesus is the one who anticipates our needs first, greets first, smiles first, serves first, and forgives first. Heavenly Father, through His Son is demonstrating to us that even if we feel as if our world is shaken, if we feel abandoned or alone, if illness befalls on us, the love of the Father will never change. The Father sent His Son to this world so that we might have eternal life with the Father. This love that Heavenly Father and His Son have for us, will not change tomorrow or ever. And Jesus asks us, in turn, to love as He did, to lay down our life for our neighbor. Love is what we must live. Nothing else matters or will matter but love.

After the consultation with the couple, I went back to my office to turn off the lights. I noticed that lots of things on my desk were misplaced or missing. The calculator screen had dark smudges; I’m sure one of the children began to play with the calculator after munching on the chocolate bunny. My post-it notes had lots of drawings on them, and the floor was littered with pens and office supplies. I had to chuckle to myself. How much of this happens at their own house every day, and how patient and kind the parents have to be with such chaos. And this brings us to this final thought. Even as we make such mistakes and mess in our life, how kind and patient Our Heavenly Father must be with us, wanting us not to be overwhelmed by our own failures or unexpected losses?