I was given a task to write a reflection based on the Sunday readings. When I looked up the readings, I felt as though I hit the jackpot. My excitement came when I read the gospel for the weekend and saw one of my favorite quotations.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
My excitement quickly turned to terror when I realized that I would have to talk about love in less than 500 words. I am certainly not an expert on the subject. Just ask my housemates or any of my good friends. Each will tell you that love is not my forte, at least not the kind of love that most 20-somethings are thinking about as they hear about exciting dates friends are having and as they watch (what seems like) all of their friends getting married. So, what could I possibly talk about? Well, the reading talks about an obligation to show love for one another.
There isn’t a requirement that the love is romantic love. Love can, and does, mean so much more.
In the current political climate I don’t see very much focus on love. I see focus on difference. I see focus on the “other.” I would like to offer a story of the love that exemplifies our reading this weekend.
A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to referee an event where twelve high schools brought a group of their students who were all engaged in a faith sharing group called “huddles.” Each huddle was given a different color t-shirt to wear during our event where they would compete against the other schools in a “huddle showdown.” The kids had a blast playing games and competing against the other huddles. It came time for lunch and what I saw as I walked into the cafeteria was something very special. The lunch tables had only six or seven seats and at each table a different color shirt was represented. There was no instruction given to the students of where they had to sit. Each student made a decision and they decided to sit by someone from another school, someone that perhaps they didn’t know four hours earlier.
This short story, I think, begs us to jump out of our comfort zones and to love one another.
To love one another means that I look beyond the color of their t-shirt, I look beyond the mistakes that they’ve made, I look beyond that which makes them different, or makes them the “other.” To love one another means I accept someone for who they are and I genuinely care for their well-being. To love means that I ask someone how they are feeling today and mean it, not just asking because that’s what I am supposed to do. I learned a great lesson from those high school students and it was a lesson that was hidden in plain sight.
Love doesn’t have to deal with something romantic; on the contrary, love can deal with the most mundane aspect of the day.
However, there is nothing mundane about the outcome when love is shown. I am so hopeful that love will continue to been shown in mundane ways and will lift people up so that they may go and do the same.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Cahill is a recent graduate of John Carroll University currently working as a student teacher at Benedictine High School, teaching World History and Mock Trial. Outside of the classroom he can usually be found acting on Cleveland area stages or singing with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. He enjoys being an uncle and cannot wait to welcome another little one to the family in a few months. More than any specific activity, job, or hobby he is most grateful for being alive.