John’s gospel continually reminds us that Jesus promises abundant, full life. Yet living in community can prove to be both a gift and a challenge. I remember speaking with a parishioner with whom I had very little in common. The one thing we had in common was our faith. During one especially tense conversation, I realized that he reached his viewpoints faithfully, through prayerful discernment – just as I did.
And so, although we did not agree, I did more than the old adage “agree to disagree.” I loved him as a sibling in Christ. I moved beyond tolerating him. I began to accept him. That doesn’t mean we ignored our differences. What it means is that the same love that Jesus Christ calls us to give also offers us the strength to remain committed to the unity of the Beloved Community, even when it is difficult and even when it is messy.
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