We have focused this week on the work of the Holy Spirit during Holy Week. Let’s close today’s reflection with the fact that the Spirit not only convicts us of the sins for which Jesus died (John 16:8), but he also participates in our forgiveness and restoration “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
We have been exploring this week the implications for Christians of our status as the “children of God.” Yesterday, we noted that if we are children of one Father, we are members of one family. We are called to love each other as sisters and brothers and to serve each other as we serve our Lord. Today, let’s consider a corollary fact: as the children of God, we are to love the world as God loves the world, whether the world loves us or not.
Martin de Porres serves as an example of how Christians should aim to live. During his lifetime, Martin was considered a living saint. After his death, many miraculous healings were attributed to him. Through discipline in prayer and faithful service, and by avoiding distractions, he strove for faithfulness, not success.
When Paul wrote that “the greatest of all is love,” he was not mouthing a romantic cultural idea. He was pointing out the supreme divine virtue that is strong enough to hold together our diverse, global movement. Love is our theological superpower in a world — and church — riven by divisiveness, hate, religious extremism, political polarization, racism, genocide, health crises, and poverty.
Though the volume has increased in recent years, the American Church has been dividing over whether it should be primarily about proclaiming truth or about serving others since at least the mid-20th century. But, it’s an unnecessary choice to make. These two things need never be separated and should never be separated. On the same night Jesus commanded us to remember how His broken body and shed blood rescues us from sin (that’s the truth), He commanded us to demonstrate our new life by serving others (that’s love).