“As I Have Loved You”
On the last day of His life on earth Jesus gave us a commission which may be one of the most challenging in the Gospel. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 34, 35) Jesus knew that acting with love is the essential element that gives life meaning. Acting with love has the power to transform us as individuals and as a nation. Love of neighbor is vital to empower us and each of the 7 billion people we share this earth with to live to our God given potential.
Pope Francis has given the world a gift by proclaiming this year as a Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Pope calls our attention to how we reflect God’s merciful love whenever we are moved to pray for others, forgive those who harm us and reach out to the imprisoned.
The American prison system is a $74 billion industry, greater that the total Gross Domestic Product of 133 nations! Most contracts between state governments and the private corporations that run state prisons stipulate occupancy quotas, thus requiring states to make payment to the corporation for any empty bed. Is it any wonder that we live in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world? Moreover the money that could be allocated to feeding the hungry, ensuring potable water for all peoples or providing adequate healthcare for the sick is shifted to pay for empty prison beds.
During this Year of Mercy may each of us vow to examine how tax money is being distributed in our national and state budgets. Does it reflect our priorities in light of our commission as disciples of Jesus to love our neighbor? Will it serve to transform and empower all those whom we are called to love to live to their God given potential.
Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
Though our faith journey may not always be easy, may we stand firm in the knowledge of our ever-present loving Father, Let us pray…
May our families and faith communities be the support we need to fulfill Jesus’ new commandment to love one another as we have been loved, Let us pray…
Almighty ever-living God,