Last month on the 12th March, Archbishop John Wilson, launched a Diocesan network entitled CARITAS Southwark to co-ordinate “our practical loving service of others, putting faith into action.”  This day was also the Sunday when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman and promised new life, living waters – eternal life.

All this, particularly the word CARITAS [A Latin word meaning LOVE] set my mind and heart racing, because some time ago, a convert to the Catholic faith, remarked that there needed to be more love and joy within the Church.  In many ways this remark is true, but our very life of faith is based on LOVE – on JESUS.   God, whom we address as Loving Father, loved the world so much, that He gave himself to us as man to save us from the ‘unloving’ even ‘wicked’ world that we have created for ourselves.  This man ‘Jesus’ chose to live the life shown him by his Father, a life of Love and Self Sacrifice for the good of others.  Jesus revealed to the Samaritan Woman that he would be the source of living water, ‘eternal life’ – his life. The Good News of his life was Love and no-one was beyond that life: not the Samaritan woman; the thief on the cross; the greedy, scheming tax-collectors; nor those who crucified him.

At a day of Reflection given by Father Eamonn Mulcahy, CSSp, it was suggested that we make the reading of the Passion Narratives, personal, reflecting with the heart rather than the mind. The most moving passage I felt was part of Jesus’ last discourse where he says:  “As the Father has loved me, so also I have loved you…..”   (Jn: 15:9 onwards)  Amazing! Humbling! Straight to the Heart!  God loves ME as infinitely as Jesus, His only begotten Son, and that love I ask, I want, I need. What we all need to feel and be told is that we are loved—not always in words, but a smile, an act of kindness, a helping hand, speaks for us.

loveTo be without love – the love of another – is the greatest pain one can endure.  Jesus, on the cross, felt abandoned by all, even his Father.  Perhaps that was his descent into hell, but he remembered the will of his Father and saying: “Your will be done. Here He made the greatest sacrifice of all and offered his life for the sake of us ALL. He knew his Father loved him and was there for him. This can change our lives from despair to hope, from hatred to love. This love is what Jesus lived and promised and it is his Father’s will that we become one with Christ, both now and in his resurrected life with his Loving Father.

And our loving Pope Francis urges us :
“In this life God asks us to dare to create a New Church–to reorganise the way we live together in order to choose what matters.”    
“All we need is LOVE!
[LET US DREAM: The Path to a better future.]

Lord give me. . .
Such a Love, as none can part:
Such a Heart, as joyes in love.
[The Call, from the The Tempest, 1633 by George Herbert]

Yvonne Pepper, RNDM