A second-century philosopher by the name of Aristides addressed the Roman Emperor Hadrian regarding Christians: “The Christians have found the truth. Their oppressors they appease and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies. They love one another.”
Both the reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians and the passage from St. Luke’s Gospel for today lay the same truth before us. St. Paul says: “Love builds up.” What doesn’t build up? Anything we do that harms others, wounds their consciences or causes them to sin.
Neither Paul nor Jesus excludes anyone from the list of “others.” If the actions of the second century Christians were able to impress Aristides, we must ask ourselves whether we are still impressing the world with our charity toward all others.
Christ in the Eucharist is the ultimate example of radical love. After all, he gives himself to each one of us without exception, sinners though we are. Love builds up. As we leave here with him physically present within us, with a grace that transforms us, the question is not “How can we do the same for others?” but “How can we not?”
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator