I ran across a song this past week called the “Hand Song” by a group called Nickel Creek and a reflection that a Jesuit priest connected to it.
A young boy picks roses for his mother. Trouble is, she has been raising these roses with great care, and he has now broken off the beautiful flowers. As he brings them to her, thorns dig into his hands. She lovingly extracts these, reminders of her roses, …
“and she knew it was love. It was one she could understand. He was showing his love and that’s how he hurt his hands”.
This is the love that Jesus calls us too…..a love that sacrifices for the need of another, a love that puts another first, a love that serves the rest. The word in Greek, is “Agape” a love is selfless and unconditional. Strong’s defines it as “brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence.” Why else would Jesus have gone to the Cross? He went there to show us what true love entails.
True love means getting our hands dirty, risk getting hurt, rejected, and thinking more about another no matter who that person is. True love means even embracing those we may not like. The love of a Christian accepts the fact that we can get wounded as Jesus, but the fear of getting wounded or even being hurt by the people we help cannot deter us from loving as Jesus did. This can seem impossible and it probably is without the grace that flowed from the side of Cross and continues to flow into our hearts through the mystery of the Eucharist.
We read in the First Letter of St John, what that the outward sign of love and it is not found in a Hallmark card. John writes
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, he or she is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother or sister whom he or she has seen, cannot love God whom he or she has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his or her brother or sister.
I think that says it all.
So my brothers and sisters, the way is clear and the path is marked out for us. May we as God’s people follow the example of Christ on the Cross and love each other and the world with a selfless love. May we wash the feet of all we meet as Jesus did because he is the greatest example of how to love.