SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
(White) Cycle B, Year II (May 6, 2018)
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48/1Jn 4:7-10/Jn 15:9-17
A popular song says that “love is a many-splendored thing.” If this is true, then why is it that a lot of people find it hard to love? They are so afraid of opening their hearts and of risking themselves to the pains of love so much so that they are unable to love and establish a loving relationship. Perhaps they had a bad experience of being unloved when they were yet children or of not being reciprocated in their love when they were still adolescent. Whatever the excuse one may have, the truth is that we are expected to love.
Christ tells His disciples “My command to you is to love one another” (Jn 15:17). Of course love can never be commanded or imposed since it must come from the free will of the subject. The essence of love is the willingness of a person to do good things for the sake of the beloved and not so much for the sake of the lover. It is an expression of love and the happiness of the lover to sacrifice for the goodness sake of the beloved. The command of Christ for us to love one another is actually based on our nature that we were created by God to love.
God has created us out of Himself, the source and fullness of love and life. Being Love, God has no other action except the actions of love. When He shares His life with us, it is an act of generous love. When God the Father sends His Son to this earth, it is an act of unassuming love. When Jesus Christ offers His life on the cross for our salvation, it is an act of sacrificial love. When the Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the Church and the Sacraments, it is an act of abundant love. In other words, our very life and being are created out of love and are meant to love. To be commanded then by Christ to love is simply to express our being and to manifest that we are persons of love.
If we have difficulty in loving, we must look unto ourselves; reflect on the truth of our being and personhood. Then we can discover that we exist because of the goodness and the love of God. If this is still difficult, let us then look on Jesus Christ through whom we have been converted into children of God by His sacrifice on the cross. We will know that we are created and saved to love God and to love one another as His commands show.
But how do we love? Christ answers this question with His similar command: “This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). We are to love one another the way Christ has loved us. He has loved us by humbling Himself through His Incarnation and by sacrificing His life through His crucifixion. Patterned to such love of Christ, we too must humble ourselves in front of our neighbors. We must always and only see their goodness and the image of God in them. Then we have to sacrifice by doing things that may be inconvenient to us but that we know will deepen our loving relationship with them, such as forgiving them of the evil things they have done to us, sharing whatever good things we have with them and appreciating their presence and actions always.
Indeed, love is a many-splendored thing. That is the feeling and thought that we get when we truly love. And we truly love when we love other people for the love of Jesus Christ who gives us the capacity to love and with the very love of Jesus Christ who fills us with the fullness of love and life.