I invite you to think of somebody who is very significant in your life. Think of why they are important to you and what they have contributed to your life. This will probably remind you of specific occasions and experiences you have had of their kindness, consideration, sympathy, understanding, encouragement or one of the many other ways in which love can be expressed. It is likely that in some of these occasions you may not have been acting in a very lovable way and their kind outreach to you was more than usually selfless.

When we look back on such experiences, we know that we have been very fortunate to have partners, family members or friends, who loved us in this way. How blessed we have been. Hopefully we may also have been in a position to give others a similar experience of a sympathetic, compassionate and faithful love. Such experiences, even if transitory, are surely glimpses of the kind of relationships for which we have been created, relationships of mutual respect and love. When Jesus encountered all the exploitation of the vulnerable, oppression by the powerful, and selfish ostentation by political and religious leaders, every fibre in his being cried out in protest: “Stop! It does not have to be this way. There is another way of relating to one another, and it is the way of love.”

The words and actions of Jesus in the gospel stories help to put a human face on what the way of love looks like. When we look back on our own experiences of being loved and the difference these have made to us, we know deep in our hearts that the way of love is the way to a fuller life and when we live in this way “we are not far from the kingdom of God”, as Jesus says in today’s gospel.

A reflection written by John Byrne O.S.A., from our Irish Province

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Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)


Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6