Sunday, February 19, 2017

All we need is radical love

After listening to the reading of the Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) this morning, my mind went off on its own homily. I couldn't help but reflect on how Christianity is failing. And I think the reason for its failure is that too many of its churches have turned into tribal councils or morality police more concerned with ensuring that their "own flocks" follow the rules than with how we need to work together for the common good of all.

Of course, it's not Christ's fault, he who said that we need to live non-violently, go the extra mile for our sisters and brothers on the margins, love our enemies, be perfect as God is perfect and a few dozen other basic things that we seem to have forgotten in our relatively comfy, privileged pews. It's a rough, raw, radical love that Jesus expects of us, one that takes a hit without hitting back and still moves forward in humility, generosity, patience and compassion. It's how he lived -- his kind of radical love reaches through the centuries -- otherwise we never even would have heard of a small town preacher and healer from a backwater town in the middle East.

The word radical comes from the Latin word for root. Radical love roots our lives in the important things in life so that we can ignore the inconsequential ones and live simply, out of love. The only way our world will survive is if we return to radical love for our planet, for others, for creation, and for ourselves. We need to work for the common good, to turn the other cheek, to give our life energies to goodness, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us and do all the other radical things that Jesus himself chose to do right to the end.

A tall order. But we're seeing far too much radical hatred these days, and it's clearly not the way our world needs to go.

What acts of radical love will you engage in this week? They don't have to be anything heroic, just rooted in love.

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