Hanging on my kitchen wall is a cork board with a quote by St Catherine of Siena firmly pinned to it: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire”.
When I start to feel like I am losing sight of who I am, and who I want to be in the world, I read these words to myself and let St Catherine of Siena give me a much-needed reality check.
It reminds me that God loved me into being so as to be love. This is what today’s Gospel is about. It is about being love.
Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. By this he didn’t mean the easy, fluffy, sweet kind of love that is comfortable, safe and demands little from us.
We can all, for example, love those that love us back and it certainly doesn’t take much to be kind and compassionate when we’re in a good mood. That is not the kind of love that Jesus means when he says: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me”. Jesus is talking about a transforming kind of love. A love that sets the world on fire and is fuelled by the “capital L” love of God.
So, what does this Love look like? It looks like Radical Love, the kind that speaks up for the voiceless and speaks out against injustices. It is Courageous and even Uncomfortable Love that calls for a conversion of the heart where we can admit when we are wrong and take responsibility for our actions. It’s a Merciful Love that leads us to forgive the hurt others may have caused. A Merciful Love too, that knows when it’s time turn the mercy inward and lovingly walk away from those that continually chose to deny the dignity of others. It is a Transforming Love that allows the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, guiding our everyday decisions and challenging us to see Christ revealed to us in the ordinariness and sacredness of life.
When we be this kind of love, we cannot help but live God’s commandments, we cannot help but set the world on fire.