Dear Believers in the Risen Christ,
In today’s gospel, John 15:9-17, Jesus speaks of the love of God as the bonding agent between himself and his disciples. This model of love for the faithful disciples is unconditional and limitless. We live in this same bond, the love of God for each of us.
Remaining in God’s love is our lifelong journey. As followers of Jesus we surrender to such love especially in this Easter season. However, we sometimes lose our way. We often prefer our own self-sufficiency, our own power and our own authority. Living in this bond of faithfulness and kindness is never easy when our human desires remain so strong.
This past weekend we brought a class of young children to the Eucharistic Table for the first time. Their First Communion is a way we pass on to our offspring the love of God. We stood in awe as they received Christ’s Body and Blood for the first time in their lives. However, their communion is just beginning. As a Christian community, we are all responsible for passing on faith. We pass on good decision-making, a kind heart, authentic prayer and ways to work for justice. We teach our children how to live with love and kindness, how to sort through daily suffering, how to reach out to others with hope and healing, how to learn more about the Church and how to have a deep relationship with God. Remaining in God’s love means that we learn how to pass on our faith to the next generation.
This coming weekend, Bishop Richard Hanifen will celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation for another class of our young people. The gifts of the Holy Spirit will be confirmed on these students. They will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit so to live in our complicated world. The Holy Spirit brings courage, strength, fortitude, knowledge, piety, wisdom and fear of the Lord. We are grateful for our young people and their willingness to remain connected to Christ Jesus.
Jesus says to us that if we remain in his love, we also will bear fruit. The fruit of faith is the source of real justice for others. We learn to bear the mystery of Jesus’ love and then are compelled to offer such love to others. We learn how to respect all matters of life. We learn to work for food and shelter and education for our poor, and we work for the sick and the lonely and the orphan— all because of the love of God.
Here are some questions to consider this week:
1. How can you support our next generation in faith and service?
2. How can you offer your voice to others who wait for love and acceptance?
3. What does “remain in his love” mean for you?
4. How do you live out Jesus’ command to “love one another?
Peace to you,