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Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Today’s Reading | Hebrews 13:1–8, 15–16
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can human beings do to me?” Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
. . . Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NIV)
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. The letter to the Hebrews, most famous for its definition and explication of faith, ends with a call to love.
Keep on loving. In a society so certainly determined by class structure as was the Hellenized world (and certainly we can see class issues in all cultures), it is poignant to read “as brothers and sisters.” Families share names and all that comes with it. For so-called noble families it was status, wealth, reputation, influence, education. It also meant something for lower classes—cycles of poverty, the absence of rights, and discrimination by others. And all families shared dark family secrets, pasts they embellished to escape shame. Hebrews calls us all into the journey of faith, the call to keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters, no matter our family name—whether our family names bring us memories of shame, guilt, pain, trauma; whether the memories associated with our family name get us caught in the cycles of self-loathing, self-criticism, black-and-white judgment, withdrawal, and ability to deeply wound others. Whether our family names connect us to poverty or to wealth, financially, spiritually, and psycho-emotionally, we are invited into God’s family where we are loved and called to love.
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters, as one family of God in Christ. Brothers and sisters, when it’s hard, keep on loving. When we don’t want to, keep on loving. When we don’t feel loving, keep on loving. When we want to be hurtful, withholding, withdrawn, judgmental, and greedy, let us keep on loving.
God of love, remind me that I am loved. Remind me to return to the source of all love, so that I might draw the deep and satiating waters of love, running like a river so that my cup runneth over with love, and in loving, may I be wonderfully showered in, bathed in, drenched with, and saturated by the ocean of your love so that I might share it with my brothers and sisters. Amen.
Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident
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