A dozen rows separate me and an old man every day at mass. During the sign of peace, the distance does not separate his love.
He turns around with his peace sign on his fingers and looks each person, one by one, in the eyes. He pauses at each face and then his focus and position slightly shift. Even when the priest continues with the Lamb of God, this guy completes his full 360 until he has addressed every last individual.
He did it yesterday, this morning and there is no doubt in my mind that he will see me as his sister in Christ tomorrow and countless days to come. Our hands do not touch but his extended love to me and every person in the sanctuary is genuine and a source of hope.
Most don’t even notice that he takes the time to spread the Lord’s peace to them. But I notice and I can’t help but smile from the light that he brings to the mass. I actually couldn’t refrain from smiling ear to ear these past couple days because he is so tender and personable (and not to mention, a very cute old man).
This man knows how to invest in people. In such a small gesture, he pays attention to the needs of others each day. He treasures the community that he worships with and does not ask for anything in return.
I didn’t walk into church expecting that a balding, hunchbacked person would teach me how to improve in fellowship. Inside those church doors, overflows similar people who sincerely want heaven for me. They are my family, waiting to celebrate with me and experience divinity together. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1.
God could’ve stopped with Adam but He created a companion and the ability to reproduce. Genesis shares “It is not good that the man should be alone.” God call us to community, not isolation! He wants us to spread compassionate love in His name to the ones who know us the best and likewise, to the ones who will only cross our paths once.
When it comes down to it, people have one true desire: to be loved. I wholeheartedly know that you do as well as your neighbor. Be the person who supplies this generously, selflessly and intentionally!
This may mean that you will get absolutely nothing in return. Jesus knows what it is like to pour out love and be rejected. Despite every trial, He humbly persevered. Let love lead you like it lead Jesus to Calvary.
“Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with truth, It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.