The Power of Love

Christianity is the most beautiful religion that has ever existed on earth. Only this religion has the ability to liberate our world from the stranglehold of evil. Only its principles and basic message can truly set both humanity and nature free from the pangs of wickedness that overshadows them. For only Christianity is the religion that is founded on the principles of unconditional love. Judaism, for instance, teaches love of neighbour but this is a conditional and limited love—love your neighbor as yourself. Christianity goes beyond the self and teaches an unconditional and limitless love—love your neighbor as Christ has loved you. This is actually the true nature of love—the ability to love selflessly and unconditionally. This is a very challenging commandment but therein resides the beauty and power of Christianity.

Love is Powerful

Love is the most powerful force in the entire existential sphere. It can uproot mountains. It can quench any storm. It can calm a raging fire. It can transform death into life. It is an unstoppable force. No barrier can resist its operations. According to the book of Songs, “love is a fire no waters avail to quench, no floods to drown; for love a man will give up all that he has in the world, and think nothing of his loss” (8:7). This is selfless love.

However, love is as challenging as it is powerful. Its path can be as rough as the path to Golgotha and its taste can sometimes be as bitter as the pains of the cross. Yet its fruit is as sweet as the joys of the resurrection. Love and sacrifice are two sides of the same coin. Whoever loves must sacrifice. Whosoever that is incapable of making selfless sacrifices is not worthy of love. For “love is not self-seeking” (1 Cor. 13:5). The power of love comes from its ability to make necessary sacrifices for the sake of the beloved.

Not Selfish

Love is not selfish but selfless. It burns with the passion to make others happy. It is committed to wiping tears and giving hope. It lends shoulders to the weak and is quick to bring consolation to the heartbroken. It does not build walls but rather raises bridges. It does not create burdens but lifts them. Love does all this without counting its loss or seeking any gain.

This is the background principle that informed the decision of the apostles in today’s reading from the Acts of the apostles. They decided against making things “more difficult for the pagans”. They decided to unburden them, to set them free. They decided to build bridges for them to cross over to life in Christ, a life of freedom and peace. They decided to change their lives positively.

Christianity is more about practical acts of love than high-sounding theological discourses. It is a simple way of life taught by the Man of Galilee, who washed the feet of His disciples as a symbolic example of unconditional love. His followers must wash the feet of one another, if they must be worthy of Him. That is to say, Christianity is a commitment to selfless service one to another. It does not matter what position one holds in this community of believers, one is called to the service of love within and without this community. When Jesus commanded his disciples, “remain in my love”, he charged then to pay one another the debt of love even to the point of self-immolation, as he did. Unless love is given a visible life among those who believe, Christianity would only be a tale of empty sounds signifying nothing.

[Readings: Acts 15:7-21; Jn 15:9-11]

Fr. Venatius Oforka

Fr. Venatius Chukwudum Oforka is a moral theologian. He was born in Nigeria and ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Orlu. He is presently working in St. Martins parish, Oberstadion in Rottenburg-Stuttgart Diocese, Germany. Among his publications are The Bleeding Continent: How Africa became Impoverished and why it Remains Poor and The Art of Spiritual Warfare: The Secrete Weapons Satan can’t Withstand.

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