|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
A young woman shared this story about witnessing her parents’ love for one another. She said when she was a young child, she remembered how hard her mother used to work and that occasionally the evening dinner would be breakfast as it would be easier and quicker to cook. This one particular day, she remembered vividly, her Mom came home late and she was very tired; she quickly baked and cooked a breakfast for dinner with bacon, sausage and eggs. She had gone to the trouble of making some biscuits as well because her husband liked biscuits. When they were placed on the table, the biscuits were burned to smithereens.
She remembers thinking how nobody said anything. Her oldest sister said nothing. Her Dad said nothing. They just ate them. She sat there eating, wondering whether nobody was going to mention that the biscuits were burned! Soon after the meal was almost over, her mother leans over to her father and says, “Sorry that the biscuits are burned.” And he just picked up another biscuit, put some spread on it and said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits.” And kept eating.
The young woman was just bewildered by this experience. Later that night as Dad was tucking her into bed, she asked, “Daddy, do you really like burned biscuits?” He said, “Oh, honey, your mother was working hard all day just like me and she was very tired and she cooked a quick meal; a burned biscuit never hurt anyone.” He gave her a warm hug and put her to bed. A simple gesture of love by a husband for a wife and it is remembered for a longtime by their daughter! That is a witness to love.1
That generosity of love is the love that Christ is talking about in today’s reading; one gives of oneself not to be right but to be loving; to have the other person feel loved. It is the simple gestures of love that last a lifetime. When we witness them we remember them for a lifetime. They do not have to be huge acts of generosity. They can be simple actions done with powerful deep love. That is what Christ wants us to consistently do for one another; to consistently love one another as he said, “As I have loved you.”
Maybe we are not there yet but we can desire to be that “loving person” and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us. Desiring it is the first step. We will never get there if we never desire to be like that person. The Lord promises us he would give us the Spirit, his Advocate.
Today we say, “Lord, give me an extra dose of your Spirit so that I can be kind and patient and loving and forgiving. I am not there yet but I want to be there, Lord.”
(Endnotes) 1 Adapted Glenda Devlin, “2013 Irish Calendar and Diary,” (Get Up and Go Publication, Ltd., Sligo, Ireland: 2013)