Greetings of peace, joy and LOVE!
Antioch is where the followers of Jesus were called Christians for the first time. This was also the place where the first missionary journey (first reading) of Paul and Barnabas took place. Although they encountered several challenges along the way, their enthusiasm for missionary works led them to the foundation of a faithful and robust community. It only shows that whenever we entrust everything to God, we will never be forsaken. God will always be there to strengthen us amidst the difficulties and challenges we encounter along the way.
Antioch reminds me of the song that goes “…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love!”
“Look how they love one another!” These were the words of people who saw the first Christians. These were also the words I repeatedly said to people during this pandemic. How people learned to care for one another! How people show their concern for others! How our frontliners travel from one place to another just to serve those people affected by the virus! How people learned to value the life of others regardless of their religion, culture, language and ethnicity.
These gestures are a concrete manifestation of the love and concern which the Gospel today reminds us of. Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. It is tantamount to saying that we take good care of each other. For love can be expressed in so many varied ways. Truly amidst the challenges we are facing now in this pandemic, the concern and encouragement of people around us, and loving service, can help us to realise that God’s love is alive.
We can really call ourselves Christians when we learn to love without counting the cost and expect nothing in return. This is how Jesus has loved us!
Quote: It is nice to have everything that money can buy, but from time to time, let us try to check if we have the things that money cannot buy!”