Understanding Jesus’ call to love one another
In these last few months, or maybe even years, of difficult news stories and challenging personal decisions, I’ve reflected a lot on the popular ’90s phrase, “What would Jesus do?” (I guess that shows my age — when I asked my seventh-grade class if they knew it, most of them hadn’t heard it before.) Put most simply, Jesus had a pretty basic philosophy that can be summed up in two words: love others. Simple, right?
In our modern, complicated world full of many different kinds of people, living in a wide variety of circumstances, with a vast range of beliefs and practices, it’s not always so simple, though. Love those who persecute us, hate us and harm us? Love those who consistently put themselves first? Love those who make choices that we can’t even begin to understand?
Sometimes it’s hard to make the jump to love right away. Maybe we can start by making the effort to understand, to find things we have in common, to try to see ourselves in each other. Love doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture, some outward display that convinces all who are watching that we are on the path to sainthood. Sometimes love is taking a minute to consider others’ thoughts and feelings before saying a word. Sometimes love is taking the time to listen even when we would rather be doing something. Sometimes love is not making assumptions or generalizations or judgments before hearing all sides of the story.
In another famous phrase from a previous decade, “All you need is love.” Or in the inspired words of St. Therese of Lisieux, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
Kwiatkowski is the pastoral and youth minister at St. Rita Church in Webster.