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Re: Is it the heat?

The New Testament documents that Christians have had problems being
charitable to one another from the very beginning. At one point Paul got
so angry with other Christian teachers that he said, "I wish those who
unsettle you would castrate themselves!"  Galatians 5:12.  (Clearly he
needed to pause and reflect on Resolution 1 which Father Donnelly and I
brought to our last diocesan convention.  [smile]
See http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/99restxt.html)

On other hand, Jesus says,

   By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love
   for one another."  
				John 13:35

It's interesting what he did not say.  He did not say that we will be known
as his disciples if we have unity of belief, or freedom from heresy, or
even commitment to mission, but "if you have love for one another." 

In his more famous passage, 1 Cor. 13, Paul himself asserts that of the
big 3 -- faith, hope, and love -- love is the greatest.  Without it, faith
itself counts for absolutely nothing. 

While I can take comfort that the first Christians also found love
difficult to practice, I rejoice that the challenge remains before us, and
I commit myself to it.  I am convinced that the rancor of Christians is
the biggest turn-off to those who stay away from our communities.  That is
certainly what my students report as their reasons for staying away.  They
know much about how we disagree, but little about how much Jesus loves
them.  They won't listen to us with that message until they see it making
a difference in our own lives. 

Joy to absolutely everybody!


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