May 13, 1012 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
For many of us, our immediate reaction to the word invokes thoughts of romance or even of sugar coated feelings toward our loved one — our family and our friends- but in today’s readings we are reminded that love is not just a feeling. Real, true love — whether it’s directed toward one’s spouse, one’s children or other family members, or toward one’s friends — is a choice. It is a choice that results (necessarily so) in self-giving action. Loving one another means giving of ourselves for the good of the other.
Simply put, it means doing what Jesus did.
“In this way, the love of God was revealed to us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might have life through Him. In this is love” (second reading).
In reality that is not simple at all. It involves utter self-sacrifice. It involves putting others before ourselves (a very hard thing to do especially in a society that emphasizes personal happiness and selfishness above all else). But loving one another — real, self-giving love — is what Christian discipleship is all about. We are called to love. And when we do, when we live our lives out of love for one another, when the things we do, the way we use our time, our talents, and our treasure is driven by our love for our fellow men, we are more fulfilled as human beings. We follow Christ’s example. And, indeed, we give glory to the Lord.
“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘As the Father has loved me so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete’” (Gospel).
Keeping God’s commandments, then, means not only “do this and don’t do that” according to the words of the Ten Commandments. It involves living our lives out of self-giving love for one another.
Jesus tells us that each one of us has been called by name to live this noble calling. It is as real for us as it was for Jesus Himself. He was called by the Father, sent to give of Himself in love of us — even to the point of death — and we are called to do the same.
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain… This I command you: love one another” (Gospel).
Ponder for just a few moments the amount of love it took, the utter sacrifice it took, and the pure selflessness that was required of Christ to give of Himself as He did. It is phenomenal. No doubt, it was exceptionally hard. He even begged the Father, “Let this cup pass me by.” But, in selfless love, Christ surrendered to the Father’s will and died for love of us. And His death and resurrection have born great fruit — breaking the chains of sin and death and offering us life everlasting.
Likewise, when we give of ourselves as Christ has called us to do, that self-giving bears great fruit — making others feel loved, showing others the love Christ has for them, and making us more fulfilled human beings.
Of course, for most of us, this call to live a life of love does not involve a martyr’s death. More commonly, it involves the complete and selfless giving of our time, talent, and treasure on a daily basis, a gift of self that, though a lot less gruesome than Christ’s death, is oftentimes quite hard itself.
Be assured. Hard though it may be, giving ourselves in love for one another bears great fruit. It is an act of love that we will never regret.
Let us, therefore, follow Christ’s example and answer His call, making self-giving love our way of life.