No one has great love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
It is funny the things you remember. I was reflecting on this gospel and what it means to lay down one’s life for a friend. Memories of my dad were flooding my mind. When I was about 12 years old, my dad and I went shopping at a local mall. He decided we would walk to the mall three blocks from home. I kept trying to walk on the outside, close to the street, and my dad was insistent that he walk on the outside. I finally asked why, and he replied, so I can protect and keep you from danger.
Another memory of my dad was a day at the beach when I got caught in a strong rip current. Our neighbor was swimming along with me. My dad could see from the shore our neighbor pull me to him, grabbing a post and holding on for life. My dad immediately and instinctively came to our rescue, me first and the neighbor next. My dad was no saint, but he knew the meaning of this passage. I know if it had been a stranger struggling that day, my dad would have done the same.
Most of us will not rescue people from rough waters, run into a burning building, pull someone from a car accident or hold the hand of a stranger dying alone from Covid. Even the seemingly small things we do for others are significant in the eyes of Jesus. He wants us to love in any way we can, not just family and our close friends but strangers.
Father Eymard wrote on July 19, 1868, to Antoinette de Grandville, Love the Lord very much. He was consoling and offering prayers for her ill sister while on the way back to La Mure for a much-needed rest. Along the way, he was stopping to see others who were sick and dying. Fourteen days later, Father Eymard himself would die, living a life of service to Jesus, loving the Lord by loving his friends.
Reflect today on those who lay down their life for others and give thanks to God!
Let Us Pray:
I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. Alleluia, Alleluia! (Gospel Acclamation)
charistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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