REFLECTION FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B.
6th Sunday of Easter Year B, 6 May 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
During this Easter season, the Word of God continues to point out to us the styles of life that are consistent with being the community of the Risen One. Among these, today’s Gospel presents us with Jesus’ instructions: “abide in my love” (Jn 15:9): to abide in Jesus’ love. To live in the flow of God’s love, to take up permanent residence there, is the condition to ensure that our love does not lose its ardour and boldness along the way. Like Jesus and in him, we too must welcome with gratitude the love that comes from the Father and abide in this love, trying to avoid being separated from it by egoism and sin. It is a demanding project but it is not impossible.
First and foremost, it is important to realize that Christ’s love is not a superficial feeling, no; it is a fundamental attitude of the heart which is manifested in living as he wishes. In fact, Jesus states: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (v. 10). Love is fulfilled in everyday life, in attitudes, in deeds. Otherwise, it is only something illusory. They are words, words, words: that is not love. Love is concrete, every day. Jesus asks us to follow his commandments, which are summarized in the following: “that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12).
How can this love which the Risen Lord gives us be shared with others? Jesus has many times pointed out to us who the “other” to love is, not with words but with actions. It is the person I encounter on the street and who, with his face and his story, challenges me; it is the one who, with his very presence, compels me to leave my interests and my certainties behind; it is he who awaits my willingness to listen and to walk a stretch of road together. Openness towards each brother and sister, whoever they may be and whatever their situation, beginning with those who are close to me in the family, in the community, at work, at school…. In this way, if I remain united to Jesus, his love can reach the other and draw him to it, to His friendship.
And this love for the other cannot be reserved for exceptional moments, but must be constant in our lives. That is why we are called, for example, to safeguard the elderly like a precious treasure and with love even if they cause economic difficulties and inconveniences, but we must safeguard them. This is why we must give all the assistance possible to the sick, even in the final stages. This is why unborn children are always to be welcomed; this is why, ultimately, life is always to be protected and loved, from conception to its natural end. And this is love.
We are loved by God in Jesus Christ who asks us to love one another as he loves us. But we cannot do this if we do not have his same Heart within us. The Eucharist, in which we are called to participate every Sunday, has the aim of forming the Heart of Christ within us, so that our entire life may be guided by his generous attitudes. May the Virgin Mary help us to remain in Jesus’ love and to grow in our love towards all, especially the weakest, so as to correspond fully to our Christian vocation.
Sixth Sunday of Easter, 10 May 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today’s Gospel — John Chapter 15 — brings us back to the Last Supper, when we hear Jesus’ new commandment. He says: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12). Thinking of his imminent sacrifice on the cross, He adds: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you” (v. 13-14). These words, said at the Last Supper, summarize Jesus’ full message. Actually they summarize all that He did: Jesus gave His life for His friends. Friends who did not understand Him, in fact they abandoned, betrayed and denied Him at the crucial moment. This tells us that He loves us, even though we don’t deserve His love. Jesus loves us in this way!
Thus Jesus shows us the path to follow Him: the path of love. His commandment is not a simple teaching which is always abstract or foreign to life. Christ’s commandment is new because He realized it first, He gave His flesh and thus the law of love is written upon the heart of man (cf. Jer 31:33). And how is it written? It is written with the fire of the Holy Spirit. With this Spirit that Jesus gives us, we too can take this path!
It is a real path, a path that leads us to come out of ourselves and go towards others. Jesus showed us that the love of God is realized in love for our neighbour. Both go hand-in-hand. The pages of the Gospel are full of this love: adults and children, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, just and sinners all were welcomed into the heart of Christ.
Therefore, this Word of God calls us to love one another, even if we do not always understand each other, and do not always get along… it is then that Christian love is seen. A love which manifests even if there are differences of opinion or character. Love is greater than these differences! This is the love that Jesus taught us. It is a new love because Jesus and his Spirit renewed it. It is a redeeming love, free from selfishness. A love which gives our hearts joy, as Jesus himself said: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11).
It is precisely Christ’s love that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts to make everyday wonders in the Church and in the world. There are many small and great actions which obey the Lord’s commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (cf. Jn 15:12). Small everyday actions, actions of closeness to an elderly person, to a child, to a sick person, to a lonely person, those in difficulty, without a home, without work, an immigrant, a refugee…. Thanks to the strength of the Word of Christ, each one of us can make ourselves the brother or sister of those whom we encounter. Actions of closeness, actions which manifest the love that Christ taught us.
May our Most Holy Mother help us in this, so that in each of our daily lives love of God and love of neighbour may be ever united.
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