Friday, February 6, 2015


Yes, it is the second of three words in Hebrews 13:1.

Let brotherly love continue.

Even in the second verse

Do not neglect hospitality,

the word for hospitality that we are supposed to show toward strangers comes from the same root. The reference to entertaining angels should take us back to Abraham and Sarah, and the strangers (Gn 18).

Unfortunately I am sometimes afraid that some Christians have made so much of the word agape that we lost sight of the other love, the love of brother or sister or friend, philadelphia. The reason I say I am afraid is that the word agape seems to have been drained of all real emotion. It has been reduced to a passionless concern of others, that concern which we feel for some group halfway around world. It bears little resemblance to the love we feel for brothers and sisters or even our real friends. My fear is that "agape" is to "love" what "Facebook friend" is to "real friend."

We can forget that the city of Sodom was not destroyed for sex, but for a lack of hospitality. For us there can be no strangers, no foreigners. The current world situation makes it hard for us. It is easy for us to let fear destroy our Christianity.

Fridays in our tradition are days of penance. Perhaps today would be a good day to look into our hearts and ask, who are those people for whom I feel no brotherly love.