“What the World Needs Now is Love” a song from 1965, (lyrics by Hal David, music by Burt Bacharach and sung by Jackie DeShannon) reminded the flower children of that time period that “What the world needs now is love, sweet love… It's the only thing that there's just too little of..". We were at war with Vietnam and young adults praised the idea of free love without limitations. The 1960’s gave birth to a lot of “love.” What happened to all that “love”? Since that time, abortion was legalized, the divorce rate doubled, more wars have been fought, recreational drug sales have skyrocketed, some drugs have been legalized, and more rehab facilities have been needed. With all the “love” the 60’s encouraged, we still have world hunger, a planet depleted of resources, anger, violence, racism, out-of-control government spending and clueless political leaders. So, what does the world need now? More free love?
Catholic Christians suggest a far different kind of love – sacrificial love, the love of Christ. Sacrificial love seeks peace, unselfish love respects life, altruistic love bequeaths charity, self-denying love supports drug-free living. Benevolent love will cost us something. It means we must be more self-sacrificing; it requires that we give up part of our selfish desires and think of one another – not looking at the government to do for others what we should do personally. Free love was cheap and it nurtured greed. Sacrificial love doesn’t come cheap and it necessitates a spirit of selflessness. Charitable love has a high price – the price of the cross.
What the world needs now is sacrificial love – the kind that Christ spoke of in his parables – the message of the gospels. Christ never directed his message to Rome – the governing body of the time – and said, Caesar will take care of us. He directed us to take care of each other. He taught us to love charitably by proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven. He taught us about God’s love for us. And this love was self-sacrificing “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It’s time for the world to wake up from its sleepy, greedy idea of free love and begin to revisit the concept of costly love – the love of Jesus Christ.
“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 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 the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1Corinthians 13: 1-13).
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