Sometimes we want to do that with Christianity. We want to do just what we have to do to satisfy the 'rules'. Our ditch is dug but it's still full of debris. Full of rocks, and twigs, and things that when a dry season comes or a cold one are going to push and pull the spirit inside us in the wrong ways. Jesus reminds us that we have to keep His commands. If we go back and read all of the New Testament we find that His commands aren't just a set of rules to be followed, rather they are a way of life. A life that involves love. Love for God, neighbor, and self. When we are showing love that doesn't mean we do the least we can. If I try that with my wife and kids they'll know I am a fake. Love means going out of the way to show it at all times. That doesn't mean it's easy, or that we succeed all the time, but that we never give up trying.
For some, that sounds like a boring proposition. A life that is constantly serving God and others? How droll. Jesus in today's Gospel tells us something that we learn from the experience of that self-sacrificial life. He says, "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and our joy might be complete." A life lived for God and others is a life filled with joy. It's a union with Christ that is not possible without allowing Him to work through us. When we follow those simple commands of "Love the Lord God will all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself" we find a freedom, a joy, and a desire for life. We also find that there isn't a bar for us to hit. We then do everything to the fullest of our ability. We don't halfway dig a ditch, we put our heart and soul into it. We turn digging with a shovel in the earth into a prayer of offering, thanksgiving, and praise. That's what it means to be praying at all times without ceasing. God is love. When we do things in love, we experience Him in our lives, in our hearts, and in our souls.
His servant and yours,
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
A reflection on the readings for Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter: May 18th, 2017