This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent.
By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Last week we prayed for eager faith, this week we beg (beseech) for eager love, more specifically, charity.
It’s easy to say that the definition of “charity” is “love” but it’s deeper than that because it’s not just any love. It is agape love, it is the the kind of love that is characteristic of a Christian. Charity describes the attitude of God toward his Son and the human race. It also conveys God’s will to his children concerning their attitude to one to another.
Vine’s Dictionary says that love can be known only from the actions it prompts. That tells us a lot about the love of God. In his great love for us, his greatest action was to send his Son to save us. Jesus’ actions included not only healing, or raising from the dead, but dying for us.
Keep the actions of God’s charity in your mind as we look at Philippians.
Philippians 2:3-4 has a definition of charity, too: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (AMP)
If you’re looking for perhaps the greatest act of charity needed in the world today, it is to lead others to a relationship with God.
Last week I was chatting with a friend about the process of evangelization that the world needs today. A new video series or fund-raising campaign is not going to be the silver bullet to lead others to discipleship. It will only happen when you and I walk with another person in the charity that Jesus did. This walk isn’t going to always be easy and we might have to get dirty, but it’s necessary. It’s the same method that Jesus used.<br>Philippians 2:2 confirms: “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel--the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ].” (AMP)
In the Gospel this weekend, John 12:20-33 (Year B), Jesus says, “Whoever serves me must follow me.” What does it mean to serve Christ? St. Augustine wrote, “They serve Christ who seek not their own things, but the things of Jesus Christ, i.e. who follow Him, walk in His, not their own ways, do all good works for Christ’s sake, not only works of mercy to men’s bodies, but all others, till at length they fulfill that great work of love, and lay down their lives for the brethren.”
To serve Jesus is to walk in his charity. What is the reward? Augustine continues, “The next words tell you: And where I am, there shall also My servant be. Love Him for His own sake, and think it a rich reward for your service, to be with Him.”
Lectio the Liturgy: Think about and journal what it means to you to walk eagerly in God’s charity. Ask the Holy Spirit to put one person on your heart that needs to hear from you this week, it may even be a stranger you meet. Be open to the possibility of showing God’s love to them. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say!
Thank you for praying with me!