My loving wife’s mother kept a prayer displayed prominently on her refrigerator: “Lord, help me remember that nothing can happen today that You and I cannot get through together.” I love that thought. Today’s readings contrast well with each other and make me think of that prayer. The Acts reading boils with controversy among the Apostles about how to make Gentiles into new Christians. Argument and discord seem the order of the day. But in the Gospel reading Jesus makes the equation simple: “The Father loves me, I love you, and I invite you to immerse yourself in Us.”

If we really value this momentous gift of love, keeping his commandments is then not a test but a welcome way of life.  Loving God and loving neighbor become not what we do but who we are. Jesus truly wants this for us. Do we strive in the details of our day to accept this?    

—Jim O’Donnell is a long-serving deacon at Gesu Church, University Heights, OH. He is also a University Hospitals physician specializing and leading a research team in nuclear medicine.