6th Sunday of Easter
May 25, 2014
The gospel on the Sixth Sunday of Easter is taken from John. This is the continuation of the farewell discourse which belongs to the second major part of the Fourth Gospel called “the Book of Glory.” Through these gospel passages we can see the important role of love in the Christian community as a fundamental principle of Christian living. The virtue of love is the most prominent theme in Gospel of John. The Father loves His Son, Jesus loves the Father, and the Son loves His disciples. But the question is: Do the disciples love Jesus? How? These questions are in order in the light of the words that he uttered: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Our readings for this sixth Sunday of Easter present how the disciples lived that love in the mission given to them by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Bringing the Good News to others is the first manifestation of the disciples’ love for Jesus. After the great persecution against the Church of Jerusalem some of the apostles fled to other parts of Judea, and to the regions of Samaria (cf. Acts 8:5ff) and Galilee. There, they proclaimed the Good News and continued the healing ministry of Christ. The people received the Holy Spirit when they were baptized by the disciples in the name of Christ.
The second manifestation of the disciples’ love to Jesus was that they blessed and kept the Lord Jesus Christ in their hearts through upright Christian living. Indeed, the very teaching exhorted by Peter in the second reading (1 pt 3:15-18) was right along the same alley. They would always remember that Christ died for the unjust to save humanity from sinfulness and bring them to God. Their fears dispelled, these disciples found the courage to proclaim Christ and live their identity as followers of Christ by loving even in the face of persecution and trials.
And how? Our gospel has definite answer to this question. Before His Passion, during the last Supper, Jesus left them a good advice, "If you love me, keep my commandments." While he was telling this, he promised to them that he would not leave them orphans. It means that they would not be left alone in their mission. They would experience the loving presence of both the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit which is a Spirit of Truth and a Helper.
Have we experienced that loving presence of God in our life? Do we feel alone or abandoned when we are facing the trials, sufferings and many other difficulties in life? If we have not yet experienced the loving presence of God then we need to ask ourselves: Do we love him and keep his commandments?
Loving as the basis of greatest commandment of God is so demanding on our part as human beings. It requires a lot to truly love God and neighbor. We are like a camel passing through the eye of the needle, but this is not impossible for us Christians even if we live in the modern age with its accompanying complexity in the way we relate. As Jesus promised to the first disciples, he already sent to us the Holy Spirit to guide us in many circumstances of our daily living as Christians.
The Holy Spirit is always present in all the sacraments that we have been receiving through the church’s ministry. In the celebration of Eucharist, when we listen carefully to the Word of God and proclaim it to others through our life-giving witness, surely the Holy Spirit is there guiding us. We are not alone whether we are in the mission or we are challenged by life's intricacies. Our Risen Lord is true to his promises. He is actively present in our life, in each one of us as a member of the church and as a community of disciples through his Spirit. So, we should always humble ourselves because it is not through our own capacity that we are able to do good deeds. Everything we accomplish is a grace coming from Christ who dwells with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
- Sem. Mike Dupo
Jesus, our friend and brother, in you we have come to know our real identity that is intricately connected and sustained by the love that emanates from your very nature. May the gift of knowing be deepened in our experience of your love that as we consciously allow your love to nourish us, we may be also be your presence to other people in our little spheres of influence. Amen.