A few months ago, I had the joy of reading some Winnie the Pooh to one of our younger classes at the school. There was a line in there that today’s gospel makes me think about. There is a moment when Piglet asks Pooh, “How do you spell love?” He replies: “You don’t spell it. You do it.”
Pooh is about the wisest bear in the forest. Here he is right on. In fact, in our Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples the same thing. He says….”Here’s the bottom line: love. Don’t analyze it or spell it or seek to understand it or theologize or pharasize it…just do it.”
I think the Good Lord knew that we humans, we like to complicate things, to add a little drama here and insert some doses of doubt here. The word “doubt” comes from the Latin word dubius meaning “uncertain.” There is a lot of uncertainty around, and if we’re honest, a lot of time we have a way of adding to it.
Today we remember the third spiritual work of mercy: to counsel the doubtful. We remember that part of the job of a Christian is to wipe away dubiousness from the world–that is, to wipe away unnecessary uncertainty and doubt and complicatedness, to remind people that the one thing that matters is that we love.
Think about the goodness of our God in what he tells us in our Gospel, that all we gotta do is love. In that statement he gives us the answer to everything, the key to everything. And it’s clearer and easier than we think.
What Jesus is saying is that love is the answer to our every woe, our every bad mood, our every illness, our every sin, our every problematic relationship….and we are faithful to the third spiritual work of mercy inasmuch as we remind ourselves and others that love is all that counts.
Are you having lots of hardships and pain, like Paul and Barnabas talk about in our first reading? The answer that will help you get through it and even embrace it all is love
Are you going everywhere and doing everything and pulling your hair out? Paul and Barnabas in our first reading went from Lystra to Iconium to Antioch to Pisidia and then they reached Pamphylia but then had some work to do in Attalia…all in a few months’ time. Talk about stress and crazy living and overworking. Their asnwer…it was love
Are you dealing with people who don’t believe, who refuse to value what we hold closest to our hearts? Paul and Barnabas were. Their answer…love
Are you lonely? The answer is, get out and love
Are you missing someone? The answer is love
Are you dealing with some addiction? The answer is get out of it and love.
Are you doubting God? The answer is love
Are you having trouble in a marriage or some other relationship? The answer is not to hold a grudge. It is to love.
Are you overworked and underpaid and frustrated? The answer is love
Are you lost? The answer is love
Are you mad at somebody and haven’t talked to them in days or weeks or months or years, and you avoid them and run the other way? The answer is love
Love–it is always the answer. Pray God we forget about spelling it and do it.