I’m reading again the journals of Dorothy Day. On June 26, 1971, she wrote about the people she was dealing with at the time, people in broken marriages, people in the slums, people without food or friends. Reflecting on it all, she writes, the real problem is that many “people have not been loved enough.” Spouses don’t love each other enough, parents don’t love their children enough, no one loves the stranger enough, and so on.
Jesus teaches us today in our Gospel, our job is to love and, as someone once said, not to bother about figuring out who deserves it or not. We are to love–the naked, the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the immigrant. And, in loving them, we love Jesus. Because remember, when Jesus came–we’re about ready to get ready for that celebration–he came as all those things: hungry, naked, homeless, poor, immigrant, etc
Our job is to love because too many people have not been loved enough. As St John the Cross says, in the end, we will be judged on how well we have loved. That’s the final exam. Those places in our lives where there is no love, put love. Then we will find love.
And the world needs a lot of it.
There’s a great video that I put on my blog. It is a video my supervisor had me watch when I was chaplain at the hospital. It shows a hospital and all the people walking around–patients, family members, doctors, nurses, janitors. One by one, you can see their life story written in text next to them.
- A little girl is walking inside and sad, and the text reads: “Visiting Dad…for the last time.”
- A man in the elevator, text reads, “Wife just had a stroke. Wonders how he will take are of her.”
- A woman next to him, text reads, “Recently divorced.”
- A man sits in his bed looking out the window, text reads, “Daughter is getting married on Saturday. Determined to be there.”
- A man is doing therapy, text reads, “Wondering how he will pay for this.”
- A nurse, text reads, “Hasn’t had a vacation in a year.”
- A nurse, text reads, “Nearing the end of a 12 hour shift”
- A chaplain puts a sticker on a child, text reads, “She always wanted a child of her own.”
My friends, the thing is this. Everyone is going through things. We can’t always see the text written on people. But we can love. And love we must.
Today is the feast of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI installed this feast in 1925 because the world was in shambles. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini….all kinds of powerful people, who were destroying everything, loving only their power. In the face of all this, the pope installed this feast as a way of reminding people: we belong to a kingdom of love, and our King is Jesus. Every other kingdom will disappear and doesn’t matter. But His kingdom is a kingdom of love that knows no end!