Credit: Cathopic. Zulia, Venezuela
“Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others” (LS 159).
As we continue to begin the new year full of opportunities to care for our common home, we ask our Creator God to help us push past the resistance, the old and tired excuses, and to help us look at our surroundings with new eyes that help us view the world with kindness and love that can too often go missing in our day-to-day lives. This month, let us consciously continue to reset ourselves and our gazes as we seek further change and commitment in the way we bring about God’s will throughout creation.
What credit do you deserve?
“Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers and sisters. Fraternal love can only be gratuitous; it can never be a means of repaying others for what they have done or will do for us. That is why it is possible to love our enemies” (LS 228).
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
By María de los Ángeles Casafus Carrillo
Spiritual Consultant, Laudato Si’ Movement
Jesus addresses his disciples to teach us the importance of love: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Lk 6:27-28).
Jesus continues: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Lk 6:32).
Perhaps today we can reflect on our daily actions in the light of these words, if we do the least possible, if we only do what we are expected to do, if our works are done out of inertia, and our hands are not coherent with our heart, that is, if our actions are not done with love, what credit do we deserve?
The Lord tells us: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High” (Luke 6:35). We know that it is not easy to love the enemy, but it is possible. Let us remember what Pope Francis expresses in Laudato Si’:
“Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers and sisters. Fraternal love can only be gratuitous; it can never be a means of repaying others for what they have done or will do for us. That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them. In this sense, we can speak of a “universal fraternity” (LS 228).
So it is love that gives meaning to our actions, feeling that we are brothers and sisters to our neighbor. Love allows us to build God’s kingdom together, especially in this time when we as Church are called to synodality, that is, to walk together. Now we must recognize the other, to love the other, and rediscover the Creator present in all.
“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good.
“When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment” (LS 229).
In this sense, recognizing myself as a sister or brother of all makes me aware of the place where I live, of the common home, which is an expression of the creative love of God, who provides everything for our well-being. By being more aware of that, I also recognize that I’m co-responsible for the well-being of everyone and everything, and that I must overcome my selfishness and commit to act for our common home, the greatest commitment I can make.
The text we reflect on ends with a powerful reflection: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). We are called to love to the extreme and if possible a little more, to do things thinking of the common good, to care for creation and to discover that it is love that is the force capable of changing the world.
Questions for reflection:
- What concrete actions can I take to contribute to universal fraternity?
- How can I be co-responsible for the care of our common home?