Called to a life of love…
Reflections on the readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 9, 2021): ACTS 10:25-26,34-35,44-48; PS 98:1, 2-3,3-4; 1 JN 4:7-10; JN 15:9-17
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you." (John 15:13-16)
St. John spoke over and over again in his New Testament writings about the importance of love. For Christians it is essential to understand that love comes from God and, through His Son, He asks us to respond with our love. In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us not only how much love matters, but also how much it costs. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.… A slave does not know what His master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father. It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you” (John 15:13-16). Here Christ is addressing His Apostles on the night before His crucifixion. Because the Father loves Him and He loves the Father, the Son is about to die in order to redeem them and all people. He especially needs them to appreciate their calling to express their love for Him by living out the commandments with their whole being. Just as His love for the Eternal Father and His children leads to the cross, all who follow Him must be ready to give their lives in His service – whatever that may mean.
Jesus wants each of us to experience the joy of knowing His love and returning it. But that is not enough. Just as He loved and sacrificed Himself for every person, we too must love and sacrifice ourselves for other people as well. By obeying the divine will and cooperating with the divine grace, our lives will take on a unique purpose and mission to which we are singularly called. God has chosen each of His followers to serve Him and spread His Kingdom in all we say and do. Through our beliefs and attitudes, our thoughts and prayer, we make our own decision to accept our Eternal Father’s plan for us, even as Jesus did. As so we recognize that loving God means loving one another. We cannot do one without the other if we want to be true disciples of our Savior.