August 21, 2021
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I heard a great true story and it goes like this: A college professor had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boys' future. In every case the students wrote, "He hasn't got a chance." Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to these boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.
The professor was astounded and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, all the men were in the area, and he was able to ask each one, "How do you account for your success?" In each case the reply came with feeling, "There was a teacher." The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement. The teacher's eyes sparkled, and her lips broke into a gentle smile. "It's really very simple," she said. "I loved those boys." Eric Butterworth - Chicken Soup for the Soul (1993)
Love accomplishes great things, things we cannot even imagine. The teacher presented above was fully committed to loving her students and it changed their lives. How committed are you to loving those in your life? Our readings this weekend are asking us how committed we are to God. Since God is love, loving those in our lives with our whole heart and soul is loving God! Are we lukewarm like the people Joshua addresses in our first reading? In other words, are we only giving some attention to living as God wishes us to live?
Hopefully, we are ready to accept God fully into our hearts and live our lives completely in a way that shows our love for those around us and God. In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus asks his disciples to do exactly that. He tells them that they must accept him fully into themselves, that, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." They did not understand this, and some stopped following Jesus and went home. Maybe they knew that this would be difficult to do.
This week, may you and I carefully look at how much we accept God into our hearts. Can we commit more fully to loving those around us in a way that changes their lives?