Today the words of John are strong and clear. "Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness."
It doesn’t get any more honest or clear; however "honest and clear" does not mean easy.
Today the signs of the times are colored by division and strife. We live in a world which challenges our ideas around how we should treat our fellow human beings, even when we disagree with them. When I watch the news I find my own feelings of anger rising and I quickly judge others and their actions. The compassion which should be in my heart as a member of the Passionist family, a Christian and a human melts from the light into darkness. Perhaps this is a good time for me to remember the words I have agreed to from the International Charter for Compassion.
"We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community." I pray as Simeon in today’s gospel:
"Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen your salvation…a light to reveal you to the nations."
If I walk in compassion, I walk in the light.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.