Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Lenten Reflections, Day Forty two, Tuesday of Holy Week, Unconditional love is found on the right frequency.


Day Forty two, Tuesday of Holy Week
Unconditional love is to be found on the right frequency.

John 13: 21 - 38

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 

The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples— the one whom Jesus loved— was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” 

So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 

Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 

So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” 

Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” 

Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 

Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.”

This is the saddest part of the gospel story as it depicts the betrayal by Jesus’ closest friends. Everyone has been betrayed by a friend, a lover, a spouse, a boss, a teacher, a pastor. The expression that gets used is to have your heart broken. The body is nothing, but the heart is something far more important.

We all have been betrayed many times, and we have betrayed others. The breach in trust is the biggest sin in the world. It is the separation and divisiveness of rapport and unity. It cuts us to the quick. Conditional love usually ends badly.

Juxtapose betrayal and breach of trust with Jesus’ injunction to love one another. Jesus says it is this unity, this trust, this rapport with one another which will be the sign by which other people will know that they are His disciples. Jesus is talking about unconditional love which is very rare in human experience.

We are moved by compassion, generosity, cooperation, support, helpfulness, understanding. We are distressed by judgment, stinginess, stubbornness, sabotage, attack, and calumny.

As we come to the end of this Lenten Season, we once again are reminded of the dissatisfaction, pain, suffering, and agony of the world of the ego. Special relationships where we burden another with the responsibility for our happiness always fail in the end because we are looking for love in all the wrong places. Holy relationships are based on unconditional love, a love which is our natural inheritance. It is a love we have forgotten as we have become socialized and conditioned into believing that happiness is to be found by putting our faith in the world of the ego. Unconditional love is emanating throughout creation and we can experience it if we tune in on the right frequency.

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