Lenten Reflections on Love – Week V

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Week 5

Photo courtesy of Education for Justice*

We could all agree that love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right, but then why would Paul insert this phrase about love? Pope Francis, in The Joy of Love, suggests that we are tempted to become resentful when we have been injured by some word or deed, when our self-esteem has been attacked by a perceived injury or insult from another person. In this case, as our anger or self-righteousness builds, we can feel very justified in condemning or dismissing that person. In a sense we are rejoicing at wrong and this is something that love does not do.

We see a good example of “rejoicing at the wrong” behavior in today’s Gospel when the Pharisees, upset over Jesus’s curing of a blind man on the Sabbath, reject the blind man because he wouldn’t speak against Jesus—“You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?”—and they drive him out of the temple.

Jesus, on the other hand, shows a love that rejoices in the right. This is a love that is boundless and unconditional. Jesus isn’t buying any of the usual blame that people in those days put on blind people—that the cause of their blindness was because of their sins or the sins of their parents. After curing the blind man, Jesus seeks him out after he had been kicked out of the temple by the Pharisees and enters into a dialogue with him, revealing in an act of love and intimacy who he really is. The man acknowledges the deep honor that he has just received and responds, “Lord, I believe” and worships him.

This week, can we identify someone in our life that we resent for a perceived slight or dismissive attitude and allow Jesus to heal us and transform the resentment? In their place can we fill them with a love that wishes the best for them, unconditionally?

-Written by parishioner Roger Sullivan

Next - Week VI

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