There is a tendency within our cultures today that is ultimately a result of the philosophy of individualism running out of control, whereby people, especially the young, seem to thing that any sort of authority or control as exercised over them is wrong or unneeded. This is simply untrue! There is a natural order of control or authority that is absolutely necessary for the good-functioning of our human communities. Without order and authority there would be chaos, and believe me, amoral or even immoral chaos is not something any of us wants!

In the First Reading today Paul places before the reader some (this is not an exhaustive list of relationships) examples of authority within his era’s communities. He tries to situate the relationships of authority within our understanding of obedience to Christ and also such that these relationships will be understood to be circumscribed by love. Thus there are demands for both obedience and love within Paul’s understanding – demands designed to protect the human dignity of all involved.

It is healthy for us to regularly reflect upon the relationships we have with others, family, friends, employees and employers etc in order to discern whether or not we are living them in accordance with the spirit of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ’s unconditional love. One of the main challenges we face in the world today is that of the exploitation of the poor and powerless. People ought NEVER be treated merely as a means of production or a means to an end. Every human person, in every human relationship must always remain the subject of that relationship. This means we cannot view people as objects to be used to attain a particular end – something that, for example, multinational companies need to be very careful they avoid when they begin situating their factories in low-wage economies. Why are they doing this? Is it just a money-making consideration? Are they truly paying morally acceptable wage/benefits to their employees? The question may at first be a legal one, but because we are dealing with other human beings there is also moral dimension that needs to be addressed. I wonder how often employers make this distinction – not as often as is necessary, I tend to think.

Am I aware of any ways that I relate to others that needs to be changed because they do not truly reflect Gospel principles and truths?

Holy Spirit, help me to receive more fully the unconditional love of God so that I will be better able to love others unconditionally.