Dear Followers of the Risen One,
We celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter today. The season unfolds with some beautiful images of Christ and what his Resurrection means for our daily lives. Every year, this season of seven weeks helps us enter into the core of what it means to be Christian. This jubilee of hope, love and peace brings us to celebrate our own baptism and the initiation sacraments for our new members of the Church as well.
Our gospel today, John 13:31-33a, 34-35, gives us a central image in which we are to find in our lives with Jesus. LOVE. This word of course is over used, and so often misinterpreted. This word is not flimsy or plastic. This word is not an excuse to not follow Jesus further or not to learn Church teaching. This word is not an excuse to enter more deeply into mystery. We cannot dismiss this word because we think we know what it means.
Jesus gave his life for us. Jesus becomes the Messiah, the Risen Christ. This foundation of love is overwhelming when we pray with intention. He healed, forgave, and raised the dead when he walked the earth, but through his resurrection, he becomes our way to feel, to understand, and know intimately the love of the Father. Jesus is the source of love, integrity, justice and peace for every human on earth and every soul in heaven.
We are connected to Jesus Christ and love itself, through our baptism. In this love, we learn to live in our world. We work diligently for justice because people deserve to have food, shelter, clean water and jobs. We work to correct the essential wrongs of people’s situations because God has first loved us. Love is not a pious bandage or a word to dismiss people’s problems. Love is meant to flow from our lives in Christ in order to heal the world and bring all people into wholeness and into the Kingdom of Heaven reflected on earth.
Love is a lifetime commitment. Love is not held for safekeeping. Love is reaching out to the sick because Jesus heals us first. Love is about justice because we capture a glimpse of heaven in the Eucharist. Love reaches out to the hopeless because we find the miracle of Jesus’ presence in our hearts. Love commands change. Love rouses humility and removes pride. Love does not build up falsehood. Love brings peace.
As Christians and Catholics, the love we possess is not meant to build us up, but to lower our gaze toward the poor and forgotten. Love is not about self-importance, but a life of spiritual self-stripping in order to discover the healing, satisfaction and tenderness of Christ Jesus.
Gracious God, help us find our way toward the love you have left us on earth in Christ Jesus. May our lives be broken open so to live our baptismal commitments toward the poor, with unbelievers, and among those who ache for justice and peace on earth. Amen