Homily of the 6th Sunday of Easter B, 06th May 2018
The command to love through the power of the Holy Spirit
God’s love knows no bounds! It cannot be reduced to a particular race, tribe, people or nation. In effect “God does not have favourites, but…anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him”. To concretise these words of Peter, God through the Holy Spirit descended on all the listeners. This entails he Holy Spirit is at work in the life of men and even beyond the borders of the Church. Saint Peter being convinced of this truth engages the Church in dialogue with a pagan family, that of the centurion of the Roman Army. God is love; he does not make distinctions among his Children. Knowing that he loves us freely, we must love one another equally without any condition; in other words, our love must extend to our enemies. To love is to remain faithful to the commands of the father by achieving the mission of Christ.
To love is not just a simple choice, it is a “command”. Jesus is quite specific: This is my commandment, that you love one another. Here He is not talking in generalities. The idea behind the word “command” is more precisely a firm insistence. Jesus wants us to focus on the deepest truth of himself, without which we are in fairyland. An epistle of John makes precisely this point in relation to God: Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. As with God, so with Jesus. The word “command” can at first sight seem so unsatisfactory, it may be hard to find a better word.
Genuine love for Jesus will make us ready and willing to deny ourselves and undertake any difficult mission or task with joy; we are even ready to lose our reputation, risk our lives and die for his cause as the martyrs and the saints have done. Without obedience our love is pretension and without love obedience is mere slavery. Without the Holy Spirit it would be impossible to continue in love and obedience to the truth in a world that is under the power of the father of lies. Therefore the lord promises to send us the supernatural counsellor, the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth.
Jesus” love is so intense for us that he will not leave us as orphans. The Holy Spirit will continue teaching and guiding us in the way of love. Jesus lays down his live for us so that we can be able to do the same to our brothers and sisters who need us. The challenge is to live lovingly. Where do we begin? In the gospel passage, Jesus invites us to abide in his love, that is, to spend time with him, to hang around, to soak in his love, to bathe in it – and to let his love transform us: helping us to see, and to energise and empower us to change, to grow and to love maturely – as friends. Let us ask God for the grace to become aware of the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives and to be open to his guidance so that our life can become meaningful and joyful, full of love to our neighbours without distinction.
Jude Thaddeus Langeh
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