5th Sunday of Easter- 19/5/2019 - Gospel: Jn 13:31-33a. 34-35
Tough love
I felt sick and was hospitalized in the Ipswich hospital, Queensland. For me sickness is understood as a process of transformation to a new phase of life. In faith I believe sickness is a transformation to a 'new life in Christ', because it is through sickness I saw real love in action. When I was admitted to the emergency ward, there came an ambulance. As soon as the siren stopped, nurses and doctors all were in a hurry. They hurried to save lives. They rushed to and fro to help strangers as much as they would to help one their own, regardless of nationality and age and gender. Apart from the responsibility of their profession, they loved their job- save lives and love life.

There is a story I would like to share to show how tough real love was. From my comfortable warm bed, I saw neither the paramedic or the patient, but heard that it was the male voice. He was transferred from the reception area to our ward late at night- around 1am. Not long after he entered the ward, he buzzed for a nurse, demanding what he would like them to do  for him. In a warm bed, but not asleep yet, because of the noise, I was half asleep and half awake. Some were sound asleep because of the noise they made; some were awake, judging from the way their beds made noise when their bodies rolled over. While we were comfortable in our warm beds, the paramedic nurses were busy on their shift work, responding to the machines and all other medical devices. After a short conversation, this new patient had got not what he wanted and was demanding to see their superior. The language and its tone were explosive. I understand that the patient was in pain, and demanding his needs be met, but I also understand that the paramedic, who served him was under pressure both of time, and of his responsibility. He served not him alone but there were others to care for as well. He carried out his job as best as he could, and he did it with love and tenderness. I suspect that the patient's expectation was beyond what the paramedic could provide, and that was the cause of the problem. I don't know what he asked from the paramedic, but presume that something which was beyond his authority to grant and also the request was unusual. The paramedic claimed that for years of service, he had never been accused of such claim, and that clearly made his night of service a burden. Tiredness, coldness and frustration were always a 'ghost' of tough love. I think people are often confused between a work of service and the work of a slave. Jesus called us to serve one another; Jesus called us to show love to one another. Jesus has never accepted or promoted a slave service, but he judged and condemned slave service.

Love one another is a way to give glory to God. Demanding to be served by others is the way to demand glory for oneself. For Jesus and his disciples, the former one is promoted; the latter one is condemned.