Father Nathan Homily | May 17, 2020
Father Nathan | Homily
6th Sunday of Easter
First Reading — ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17
Responsorial Psalm — PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Second Reading — 1 Peter 3:15-18
Gospel Reading — John 14:15-21
“Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth,…
Dear friends, as we know each of the gospel writers had their own audience. The evangelists were feeding their own people. Today’s reading is from as we know from St. John. John’s gospel is drastically different from the other three gospels that we call them as synoptic gospels. Today’s gospel centers or focuses on LOVE and the Holy Spirit.
You love one another. Just as I have loved you
The word ‘LOVE’ we might have heard it in a few trillion ways in our lives. It has become part and parcel of our life to utter the word ‘LOVE’ sometimes we don’t even mean them.
Usually, love sets the tone of Romance. Romantic love is good and I never underplay them but in our culture, very many times it’s overdone. It’s kind of love that’s most written about, portrayed in movies, magazines, and everywhere.
John’s gospel can be called the LOVE gospel, just because of the way St. John handles the theme “LOVE”. St. John uses fifty-seven times ‘love’ verbs (agapao, phileo). Add to that all of the occurrences of “friend” (which is the translation of philos) as well as the fact that the primary disciple in the Fourth Gospel is an unnamed character called “the beloved disciple,” and we might accuse the author of advertising a single issue. And why not, for is it not the case that
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”?
The way St. John handles the theme love is great. As to say the passage begins and ends with love. Jesus declares that if whoever loves him, they ought to keep his commandments.
We may question to ourselves and ask, “What commandments?”
Unlike, say, Matthew, nowhere in John does Jesus command us to go the second mile, turn the other cheek, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Famously, JESUS GIVES ONLY A SINGLE COMMANDMENT IN JOHN’S GOSPEL.
“I give you a new commandment, that you LOVE ONE ANOTHER. JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, YOU ALSO SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (13.34-35).
He reiterates this in the chapter just after ours:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
We see, then, the overwhelming, repetitive, circular emphasis on love.
The command to love one another is NOT like anyone. He himself becomes a model to LOVE. We need to love others as HE loves. His love is, He died for you and me, His love is accepting me as I am, His love forgiving me and accepting me as His sons and daughter. That’s how we are called to love. That’s what the commandment all about it is also.
Jesus Gave One Commandment
It’s worth noting that love is tied to John’s realized eschatology. Jesus gives one commandment: to love. Therefore, judgment and eternal life begin now. At the end of each day, and during each moment of each day, for John, there’s only one question to ask yourself:
“In what ways did I or did I not love today?”
As you reflect upon that, judgment happens. Where you did not love, there lies judgment. But understand that for John judgment is merely diagnostic, not retributive.
Jesus constantly asks the characters questions that help them understand their lives and motives more clearly. To the sick man in chapter. 5:6: “Do you wish to be made well?”; to Martha in chapter 11:26: “Do you believe this?”. He asks questions not because he doesn’t know the answers (since John 2:24-25 assures us that Jesus already knew everything); rather, he asks so that we might know, and therefore move forward with clear vision into the truth, light, glory, love, abundant for which God has created us.
Now we are called to think, am I really loving another it could be my wife/husband, kids, and all my loved ones as JESUS COMMANDED TO DO?
The love that Jesus is talking about involves, commitment and self-sacrifice, one hundred percent loyalty, it’s all about giving and sharing and being bountiful to others…
To say it in one word, the word love. St. John is talking about is the OTHER never, it’s me. It’s all about GIVING and never expecting to receive….. It’s like the symbol cross we need to empty ourselves stretching out our hand as Jesus did on the cross, reaching out ONLY for others.
ONLY other is our focus where my dignity, myself, my life, my character, my way…. All those ‘MY’ and ‘MINE’ and ‘ME’ totally vanishes away. There is no place in that love Jesus talking about. By loving others as JESUS loves us is the means to become the disciple of Christ. It’s THE ONLY MEANS to become the disciple of Christ.
It’s all about the OTHER … it’s all about GIVING … giving, giving and it’s about SHARING, sharing, sharing as JESUS loves us…
Stay safe and be reassured that God is with you in this time of crisis and isolation!
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Have a Blessed Week,
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