Embracing The Spirit of Christ’s Love And Loving

Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter

In Boston’s Quincy Market there is a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The memorial is made up of six pillars of Plexiglas. On a background of the millions of prisoner numbers assigned by the Nazis to those who perished, each pillar contains stories that speak of the cruelty and suffering in the camps.

But one of the pillars tells a different story. It is about a little girl named Ilse, a childhood friend of Gerda Weissman Klein, who recounts the tale. Gerda remembers the morning when Ilse, who was about six years old at the time of her internment at Auschwitz, found a single raspberry somewhere in the camp.

Ilse carried the raspberry all day long in a protected fold of her pocket. That evening, her eyes shining with happiness, Ilse presented the raspberry on a leaf to her friend Gerda.

“Imagine a world,” writes Gerda, “in which your entire possession is one raspberry, and you give it to your friend.”

In the midst of the horror of the Holocaust, little Ilse manages to discover the joy that only comes from bringing the same joy to another. That is the commandment of Jesus to us who would be his Church: to love one another as Christ, God made human, has loved us. As Christ gives his life for others, he commands us to do the same; as Christ brings healing and peace into the lives of those he meets, he commands us to find our life’s fulfilment in bringing his healing and peace into the lives we touch; as Christ reveals to the world a God who loves us as a father loves his children, he commands us to love one another as brothers and sisters. Such love can be overwhelmingly demanding – but such love can be the source of incredible joy and fulfilment, no less than an experience of Easter resurrection.

Loving as Christ loved begins by putting aside our own hopes and wants to seek instead the hopes and wants of others; by caring for and about others with selflessness and understanding, regardless of the sacrifice demanded of us; by putting aside our own need for justice and accountability in order to make the first move to forgive and to heal, no matter how undeserving. May we realize the powerful sense of resurrection we can bring about by embracing the spirit of Christ’s love and loving in our own lives.