What compels people to love who no one else loves?
A sad story landing this week of a priest who welcomed a refugee into his community.
The unnamed refugee was on bail for the arson of a cathedral. He had nowhere to go - no home, no shelter, and no passport to get back home. Father Oliver brought him into his community and gave him food and shelter.
They found last Monday morning Father Oliver beaten to death. The refugee admitting his guilt.
We don’t know why Father Oliver was killed. Given the disparaging rhetoric over immigration and refugees, I am sure some would say he was foolish to bring a suspected criminal into a sacred community.
Why do you think Father Oliver brought this man into his community?
I say it is because of love.
Blind love? Foolish love? Misplaced love? No, Jesus-love. The love for people for no other reason but their existence. Love without risk is cheap love. A cheap love is what you show strangers or co-worker, people outside your immediate family and friends. It is a love that only requires respect and good manners. There is no risk, no opportunity for them to hurt you, unless they come to hate you.
Jesus-love, agape love, is the love Jesus calls us to love with. Jesus chose Judas, knowing it would hurt him. To love as Jesus loves requires risk.
You are risking your emotions.
You are risking your health.
You are risking your life like Father Oliver.
When you love as Jesus loved, you’re laying down your life in service to that one. You are surrendering your emotions, your health, and even your life into their hands.
Is it possible to love like Jesus loved?