Sunday reflection: John 10:1–10

posted at 10:01 am on May 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussionPrevious Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here For previous Green Room entries, click here.

This morning’s Gospel reading is John 10:1–10:

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

A shepherd leads a flock, and a flock follows a shepherd. In today’s Gospel, Jesus issues a warning to both the sheep and would-be shepherds: Follow those who follow the Lord, rather than those who attempt to usurp the Lord.

We have the themes of shepherding and calling throughout today’s readings, and not just in the Gospel. In 1 Peter 2:20-25, Peter writes Christ has laid down an example for his followers in order for them to cease being led astray and return to “the shepherd and the guardian of your souls.” In Acts 2, Peter exhorts those in Jerusalem: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.”

Jesus brings both of these themes together by noting that the sheep know the sound of the true shepherd’s voice, and will follow him through the mercy of the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is the Father, and Jesus is both the gate and the shepherd. The Father has opened up Christ so that the flock may enter into paradise. Those who try to lead the flock for their own purposes are nothing more than usurpers attempting to steal what rightfully belongs to God, but those with God’s grace can resist and remain in salvation.

The literal and analogical meaning of this analogy isn’t a mystery, of course; Jesus ends up explaining it to everyone because the Pharisees didn’t understand the lesson. But this isn’t just a warning to the Pharisees, nor is it limited to Jesus’ time. The lesson about listening to the true shepherd applies to the sheep as well.

Jesus speaks of those who enter into the sheepfold in order to rob and plunder the flock. But these have no power if the sheep remain in the care of the true shepherd, because they won’t recognize his voice. If, however, we get distracted by temptations of this world, pretty soon those strangers will start to sound pretty familiar. The more time we spend with those distractions, the more the call of Jesus becomes the strange one we don’t recognize, and the one from which we run.

Sin is very much like that — a kind of addiction that grows stronger while dulling the senses to our perception of it. Poets might call this a siren’s call (well, bad poets, anyway), but the attachment to sin acts more like a compulsion that pays off less and less even while the ability to resist it fades more and more. It pulls us away from ourselves and from our community, wrapping us in either loneliness or pushing us into relationships with similarly lost sheep. The longer we stray from the flock, the less we recognize the voice of the shepherd, and the more we respond to those who would rob from God. We begin to believe that sin is just relative, that eros is the same as agape and caritas, and that pleasure for its own sake validates our choices and is the highest form of human existence.

How do we fight our attachment to sin? I’m hardly an expert, but I find it helps to do lectio divina each day, along with regular prayer, as well as joining the rest of the flock each Sunday at church. (Never discount the power of community — in either direction.) The daily reading and contemplation of Gospel reminds me of the voice of the True Shepherd, training me to keep my ears pitched to the right voice. With that regimen, I can recognize sin more clearly and admit it to myself, but it also makes me aware of the movements within myself that make me vulnerable to sin. For me, this happens at low moments when isolation and some form of despair begin working on me. Instead of finding my flock and listening to my shepherd, I wander off into another flock and listen to those who would steal me from God — voices that undermine my sense of being a loved child of God and focuses on all of the ways in which I fall short.

Well, I do fall short, but that’s why I have to listen for the True Shepherd’s voice and stay with His flock. This passage warns that the sheep have to be careful, too, and not just the would-be shepherds who believe themselves capable of taking God’s authority. We have the responsibility to discern on which voice we follow, and to whose flock we belong. The more we place our trust in our Shepherd, the less likely we are to become lost and imprisoned in sin and death. Jesus calls us to partake in paradise, and we start by listening to His call — and no other’s.

Note: Image from the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, Italy (425-50 AD).


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Bishop! or Cardinal! :-)

I want to note that daily lectio divina is actually a new habit I’ve developed from Lent, but I had been trying to do some daily reading of scripture for the last couple of years. Lectio divina works better for me, probably because it appeals to my love of critical thinking and language.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 10:09 AM

If you have a breviary you can pray the Divine Office or parts of it every day.

celtic warrior on May 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM

“The daily reading and contemplation of Gospel reminds me of the voice of the True Shepherd, training me to keep my ears pitched to the right voice.”

Many times I have felt I’m the only one that does this. I’m happy to know I’m not alone.

Yours in Christ,
Michael,

Michael Harlin on May 11, 2014 at 10:20 AM

I’m not familiar with the term caritas in reference to types of love. I’ve heard storge, agape, philia, and eros. Where does caritas fit in with these?

I really wish more emphasis was placed on being able to differentiate between the different types of love. Too many people associate eros with love when eros can have more to do with lust than love.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Bishop! or Cardinal! :-)
Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 10:09 AM

And only by 8mins (with mod privilege no less). :)

nobar on May 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Thanks for this, Ed….

OmahaConservative on May 11, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

Busy day, but I took the time to treat myself to Ed’s reflection before Mass.

God bless you all and your families.

Elisa on May 11, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I’m not familiar with the term caritas in reference to types of love. I’ve heard storge, agape, philia, and eros. Where does caritas fit in with these?

I really wish more emphasis was placed on being able to differentiate between the different types of love. Too many people associate eros with love when eros can have more to do with lust than love.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Caritas is the love/charity in the 1 Corinthians “faith, hope and love/charity abide and the greatest of these is love/charity.” And in “God is love.” (forget what book)

It’s a theological virtue like faith and hope.

It’s definitely not eros or philia and I forget what storge is.

So I would guess it’s close to agape, but I don’t think it equates with agape. Slight difference, I think. Maybe cause it’s a virtue that is Godlike and agape is the sacrificial pure love God has for us that we are to try and have for God and others?

Now I’m just babbling. lol All guesses. Maybe someone else can answer better.

Elisa on May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

I note here that Jesus says he is “the” gate not “a” gate. A distinction with profound implications. Great reflection, Ed. I very much look forward to this every Sunday. Soli Deo Gloria!

tommyboy on May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

I’m not familiar with the term caritas in reference to types of love. I’ve heard storge, agape, philia, and eros. Where does caritas fit in with these?

I really wish more emphasis was placed on being able to differentiate between the different types of love. Too many people associate eros with love when eros can have more to do with lust than love.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Being a linguistics I can tell you the group of terms you cited are Koine Greek. “Caritas” is Latin and means “charity”.

whatcat on May 11, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Being a linguistics buff, that is, lol.

whatcat on May 11, 2014 at 10:40 AM

And in “God is love.” (forget what book)
Elisa on May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

1 John 4:8

tommyboy on May 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I should be more clear — agape (Greek) and caritas (Latin) mean essentially the same thing, especially in the Scriptural context: unconditional love, total love, self-emptying love, and/or charity. That’s why I paired them together. Eros and philia are both Greek terms. Philia denotes a brotherly, platonic love, while I think eros needs no explanation.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM

We have the responsibility to discern on which voice we follow, and to whose flock we belong. The more we place our trust in our Shepherd, the less likely we are to become lost and imprisoned in sin and death. Jesus calls us to partake in paradise, and we start by listening to His call — and no other’s.

Wonderful post Ed.

May all of you enjoy a wonderful day with the mother’s in your lives.

Thanks for posting the attribution Ed…here’s a link to the site.

There are details of this amazing Good Shepard mosaic that Ed chose and more.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/ravenna-galla-placidia

workingclass artist on May 11, 2014 at 10:55 AM

I note here that Jesus says he is “the” gate not “a” gate. A distinction with profound implications. Great reflection, Ed. I very much look forward to this every Sunday. Soli Deo Gloria!

tommyboy on May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

I’ll second that.

Ed’s sunday reflection posts and comment threads are always interesting.

And of course the Art…

workingclass artist on May 11, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Sin is very much like that — a kind of addiction that grows stronger while dulling the senses to our perception of it.

Indeed. It is our culture’s dying legacy that, because we have rejected the Biblical perspective on reality we no longer identify the cause of our social and civic ailments and think they can be ameliorated through the political process.

It is only through repentance and faith in Christ that a man, and by extension his community, is made whole again.

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
And you would not,
but you said, “No! We will speed upon horses,”
therefore you shall speed away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds,”
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one,
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill. Isaiah 30:15-17

Cleombrotus on May 11, 2014 at 11:05 AM

thanks Ed.

CoffeeLover on May 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Good stuff, Mr. Ed.

Sin is very much like that — a kind of addiction that grows stronger while dulling the senses to our perception of it. Poets might call this a siren’s call (well, bad poets, anyway), but the attachment to sin acts more like a compulsion that pays off less and less even while the ability to resist it fades more and more.

One of the truths about sin that is rarely preached. Sin is not just behavior that God’s doesn’t like, it is functionally completely different from holy behaviors. It is an utter lie (how this delights Satan!) and to continue to enjoy one’s sinful indulgences, a person must sin more frequently, and more heniously to keep the pleasure at the same level. But do what you will, enjoyment fades until only sin remains. Sin doesn’t even fulfill its meager promises, but always leaves the sinner cheated, alone and broken.

Godly behaviors, on the other hand, such as lovingkindness and charity, or even the innocent enjoyment of the treasures He has created for us, become MORE joyful, more pleasant, more affirming; holiness makes us want more and more of itself, because the joy is so sweet, so piercing when we glimpse it.

Well, preaching on sin is not popular anymore.
Mainstream American Christianity has turned God the Father in to God the Indulgent Mother of a Bad Boy; a God Who will always love us no matter what we do (as of course He does) but without the corollary of us actually modifying our behavior to try to please the One Who Loves us so vastly.

Which is perhaps why you’ll hear a lot more about God’s love and very little about God’s justice these days.

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on my question.

while I think eros needs no explanation.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM

C.S. Lewis’ definition of eros included romantic love. Would you agree or disagree with that?

It bothers quite a bit at times when I hear young people, male and female alike, talking about how “hot” someone is and then shortly thereafter you hear them say, “I just love so-and-so”.

No, they don’t. They’re conflating lust with love and failing to differentiate between the two.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 11:36 AM

C.S. Lewis’ definition of eros included romantic love. Would you agree or disagree with that?

Yes. Eros is not just lust, but includes romantic love as well, if for no other reason than romantic love doesn’t fall cleanly into philia or agape. In fact, I’d even hedge a little and say lust doesn’t quite fit into eros, since lust seeks to use others for pleasure rather than acts in love at all, at least in its pure form. However, a truly sacramental marriage cannot be built on just eros, although hopefully it includes it. It has to be based on agape (or caritas in Latin) in order to mature into the model of Trinitarian life it’s meant to be.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Jesus speaks of those who enter into the sheepfold in order to rob and plunder the flock. But these have no power if the sheep remain in the care of the true shepherd, because they won’t recognize his voice. If, however, we get distracted by temptations of this world, pretty soon those strangers will start to sound pretty familiar. The more time we spend with those distractions, the more the call of Jesus becomes the strange one we don’t recognize, and the one from which we run.

Again, indeed. When His disciples came to a private meeting with Him and asked Him, “What will be the signs of your coming and of the close of the Age?” the FIRST thing He said was, “Take care that no one leads you astray.” The FIRST thing.

Cleombrotus on May 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM

“Take care that no one leads you astray.”

Cleombrotus on May 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Indeed.

unclesmrgol on May 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

I definitely agree. I think that’s probably a significant reason why a lot of marriages fail in modern society. They conflate love with lust, hence attempting to establish a long-term relationship on something that is inherently sinful.

This type of relationship is narrow and superficial in context wherein a relationship that includes the other types of love is much broader and deeper (includes genuine understanding, acceptance, appreciation, respect, etc.)

The latter type of relationship has to be built, too, doesn’t it? It isn’t something that would follow the lines of instant gratification.

It really is no wonder that our society is so messed up.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there, and particularly those who, like mine, may she rest in peace, helped me find the Shepherd.

TXUS on May 11, 2014 at 11:54 AM

C.S. Lewis’ definition of eros included romantic love. Would you agree or disagree with that?

Romantic love contains a very strong component of physical desire: it is certainly how God made us, in order to draw us together as one flesh and participate with Him in creation.

God calls us to parenting in order that we may more fully understand His love for us, and gives us sex as a light-hearted bonus.

(Its apparently pretty difficult to get a human to shed his or her selfishness enough to truly love another; sex is one of His *really nice!* tools to help us get there.)

When we are “falling in love” it is a sexy, emotional, wonderful time, but God certainly hopes that it matures into an attachment that is deeper, purer and harder than just romantic love.

I do think its incorrect to equate eros with simply physical attraction; i.e. lust. There is little or no love in lust, but romance is naturally passionate.

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

…skipped Church today…thanks!…I needed this!

KOOLAID2 on May 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I don’t disagree with that. Being sexually attracted to someone or experiencing physical desire for someone can be part of love. But if it is nothing more than sexual attraction or physical desire, then it leans more towards lust.

One person can lust after someone they don’t even like, much less love, based solely on physical attraction.

Problem with it is that a lot of people conflate love and lust rather than learning how to differentiate between the two. That’s where it can become misleading…actually, it becomes something people can be deceived by.

I think that’s pretty common these days.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Caritas is the love/charity in the 1 Corinthians “faith, hope and love/charity abide and the greatest of these is love/charity.” And in “God is love.” (forget what book) Elisa on May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

The Greek word for charity in 1 Cor. 13 is agape. Same as 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” Caritas is the translation of agape for 1 John 4:8 in the Vulgate, Deus caritas est.

Akzed on May 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Thanks for these, Ed.

hollygolightly on May 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM

TIFWIW

If you know of the kind of love described here

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

and here

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

then you have something to be thankful for today.

Not everyone knows of that, in a real-life practical sense.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

One person can lust after someone they don’t even like, much less love, based solely on physical attraction.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM

But in that case it’s not eros, its epithumia

You are completely correct that lust and love are conflated now; even worse, romance has become a euphemism for sex.

I’m of the opinion its one of the reasons why God wanted us to restrict sexual activity to marriage- to engage those other, deeper attachments before we satify the sexual urge.

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 1:04 PM

I prefer the term ‘divine love’.

A couple of interesting verses to consider with regard to love –

Mat 5:46 “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same.”

And

I John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”

Bigbullets on May 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Read Thomas

John the Libertarian on May 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

TIFWIW

If you know of the kind of love described here

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

and here

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

then you have something to be thankful for today.

Not everyone knows of that, in a real-life practical sense.

lineholder on May 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

While not arguing the truth of what you said, I believe that sex outside of marriage, sex without commitment, actually inoculates us against developing a deep, Godly love for someone of the opposite sex.

Note the relationship of living together before marriage to the failure rate of same.

Anyway, God’s rules are always about our ultimate good, including our happiness here on Earth. There’s a reason why he told us to keep sex within the confines of marriage, and we are witnessing the negative results of refusing to do so.

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Wonderful discussion. Words are so powerful and so complex.

I wish to give thanks to God for all the Gomorrah around us. I went to Drudge and will never be the same, ever. I don’t have enough bleach around.

I differ on the caritas meaning the same as agape, but I’m in a caritas mood, having noted that the world is catapulting exponentially into a latrine…thus, at this point what difference does it make?

At least agape doesn’t mean “legitimate redistribution”, like caritas could :)

Yes, yes, Ed, my brother!

Schadenfreude on May 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

I just wish my Pope were still Catholic :(

ConstantineXI on May 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

I just wish my Pope were still Catholic :(

ConstantineXI on May 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

*sad, gentle fist bump*

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Repent America….read this verse and turn to Christ. He is the only hope and change you can get…..the only true and meaningful hope and change

crosshugger on May 11, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Schadenfreude…the loud swishing sound is America flushing itself into said latrine….

crosshugger on May 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Read Thomas
John the Libertarian on May 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Choom out.

Murphy9 on May 11, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Read Thomas

John the Libertarian on May 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

What does that even mean?

If you’re trying to make some point about “doubt”, then Thomas is not exactly a good choice of texts.

Unless you’re talking about the so-called gospels of Thomas (which I’m sure you’re not).

Anyway, meaningless ejaculation, I guess.

Dolce Far Niente on May 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

THE thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
That’s the enemy. The real enemy.
Stay on guard.

Galtian on May 11, 2014 at 5:05 PM

How do we fight our attachment to sin? I’m hardly an expert, but I find it helps to do lectio divina each day, along with regular prayer, as well as joining the rest of the flock each Sunday at church.
erosagapecaritas

If a wandering, wondering soul comes across this article, & he’s longing to break free from a sinful habit, & he sees the question in this quote, he’ll get happy.
“Ed will tell me how to come clean & start a new life!”
But then he reads some high-sounding Latin words & cries out, “What does that mean?”

Why not write & speak in the language of the people, Ed?

The rest of your thoughts are good, though. :)
I’d only add that accountability is a good way to break the chains of sin.
From James chapter 5:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Note that it says to one another, & not to someone higher in an ecclesiastical hierarchy.

itsnotaboutme on May 11, 2014 at 5:24 PM

I just wish my Pope were still Catholic :(

ConstantineXI on May 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

He is.

unclesmrgol on May 11, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Love. I can’t explain it. But I sure like it and want to receive it and give it back. Thanks so much Ed for taking the time.

HonestLib on May 11, 2014 at 6:41 PM

He is.

unclesmrgol on May 11, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Yeppers – the trifecta of the UN/the Pope/obama, will rape you royally, and destroy the USA.

Global tax, in the guise of “saving the environment” and “equality”, in the form of “legitimate redistribution”.

Wake up already!

Schadenfreude on May 11, 2014 at 7:17 PM

1. Build small cars.

2. Buy lots of small cars.

3. No more taxes incoming, because there are lots of small cars.

4. Tax per mileage…because the small cars don’t bring taxes.

Do you get the circle-cluster (nice word)?

Yes, the Pope is Catholic.

The UN hates the USA.

obama hates the US and wants her destroyed ‘in the name of love’ for humanity, which he hates.

Global warming, er climate change bullchit” for the stupid.

One can’t imagine all this in fiction.

Work harder good producers. And we all pray that sanity prevails.

Disinformation is the name of the game. The media help all, including the UN and the Pope.

Irony alert – the media have united with the Pope, they the agnostic/atheist ones.

Schadenfreude on May 11, 2014 at 7:25 PM

HonestLib, my brother, in the name of love, for your children, really.

Schadenfreude on May 11, 2014 at 7:25 PM

I just wish my Pope were still Catholic :(
ConstantineXI on May 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM
He is.
unclesmrgol on May 11, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Only in the sense Pelosi is.

ConstantineXI on May 12, 2014 at 6:40 AM

thanks Ed. During these insane times, The Word is so welcome. I’m sure you’ll get criticism for it. Consider a daily single Bible verse post.

Darvin Dowdy on May 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Reading the bible daily is important for any Christian. When you read the bible, God is talking to you, just as you talk to God through prayer. Don’t limit yourself to the Gospels either.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

There are reading plans online that will get you through the bible in a year. This only take about fifteen minutes a day. If it’s hard for you to focus, consider using bibleaudio.com and follow along in your bible as you listen to the reading. This really works. I’ve been doing it for some time.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It’s good to hear the word of God spoken and expounded upon by someone with more experience, or even with a different perspective, but it’s also important to let God talk to you directly. Consider getting up a little earlier every day and doing your bible reading first thing. This will help set the tone for the day as you ask God to show you the path that He has for you.

For those of you who dread the long haul through the old testament, I can tell you two things to encourage you from my own experience. First, so much of what is in the New Testament profits from an understanding of the Old. The Gospels were written by Jews, and familiarity with Torah is often assumed in the words of Jesus. End times prophesies are laced throughout the Old Testament prophets. To understand Revelation, you must read Daniel (among others). Second, after the first reading of the entire bible, you will find subsequent readings easier, more engaging, and more enjoyable. Chronicles will still be challenging, but as you begin to recognize some of the names, you will start to build relationships in your mind that will add significance to even a litany of begats.

I can’t tell you how much daily bible reading has enriched my life. After the path to salvation, there is nothing I can offer another person that would be a more meaningful gift.

Immolate on May 12, 2014 at 9:07 AM

1 John 4:8

tommyboy on May 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Of course it was the Beloved Disciple. How silly of me.

I should be more clear — agape (Greek) and caritas (Latin) mean essentially the same thing, especially in the Scriptural context: unconditional love, total love, self-emptying love, and/or charity. That’s why I paired them together. Eros and philia are both Greek terms. Philia denotes a brotherly, platonic love, while I thinkeros needs no explanation.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The Greek word for charity in 1 Cor. 13 is agape. Same as 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” Caritas is the translation of agape for 1 John 4:8 in the Vulgate, Deus caritas est.

Akzed on May 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Thank you both so much for clarifying for me.

It’s a joy having this Christian community to share with.

Elisa on May 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM