Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 2
God Is Asking Each of Us to Become Christ-like in Our Every Thought, Word and Deed, Living a Life of Selfless Love Out in the World – in Our Workplace, the Shopping Mart, and All the Places We Frequent in Our Daily Lives.
“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” – a teaching which is meant to guide our behavior as a Christian people, words which we find at the beginning of our Second Reading today.
And how we love or fail to love, how we live or fail to live the virtue of charity in our daily lives will become our witnesses for or against us when we are ultimately called to stand before the Eternal Throne of Justice, and each of us (for there is no one who is exempt) must give answer to those times in our lives during which we have failed to keep our Lord’s Commandments, if we have not first sought God’s Mercy for our failures in life.
Several years ago, there was a play that was produced. It started in Madison Square Garden in New York City, and then it hit the circuit of stages in various cities around the country. The play was titled, “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.” It was a story about relationships – relationships within families and amongst loved ones.
Yet, with all its publicity and theatrical reviews, the play truly missed its mark, for it failed to recognize that singular relationship which truly speaks to us of the greatest Love Story ever realized throughout the course of human history – that unfathomable and indescribable Love about which Sacred Scripture unfolds and presents to us.
For it is the Bible which teaches us of God’s relationship to His creation, and His relentlessness in inviting His children into truly living a loving relationship with Him.
And realizing the depth of God’s Love was revealed to us by Christ Himself, for we find many different passages in Scripture which speak to you and me about how God calls us to Himself in a true communion of love – a spiritual union in which God becomes our Spiritual Father and we become His children – a spiritual union in which we are invited to become co-heirs with Christ in His eternal Kingdom.
In John’s Gospel, we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
How many times have we read this simple verse and yet failed to realize the fullness and the beauty of its true meaning? To whom did He send His Son? The verse says, “God so loved the world…” In other words, God the Father sent His Only-Begotten Son for everyone – peoples of every nation, of every race, creed, culture and religious persuasion!
God is not biased or preferential in His Love. He does not discriminate because of racial or cultural differences, as many do in today’s secular environment!
His Love is pure and unconditional; His Love is all-inclusive. And John continues to tell us in our Second Reading today, “…his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.”
And it is this Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, who guides us, inspires and teaches us all that would bring us into an ever closer and more intimate relationship with the One who has created us, with the One who redeemed us for Himself!
Jesus once said, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” And in another passage, He says, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
It is this communion of Love between God and ourselves, and between us and our neighbor which calls us into a very special Christian discipleship, one which effects within each of us the ability to become the extension of Christ in the world and the local environment in which we live each day.
And when we respond to our Lord’s commands with an opened and willing heart, then we become as branches which are grafted onto the Eternal Vine, who is Christ Jesus Himself. It is within this relationship that our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel truly begin to take root within our very souls, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
Sadly, however, there are those whose hearts will remain hardened and cold to our Lord’s words, and Jesus says to each of them, “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.”
For Hell is a very real place within which souls who have rejected Christ’s teachings spend their eternity, souls who have failed to love selflessly and who obstinately reject what our Lord asks of us through Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of His Church.
For you and me today, here on this side of the eternal, God is reaching out to each of us, asking us to truly live lives of selfless love in all that we do, becoming Christ-like in our every thought, word and deed.
It is easy to live our lives selflessly for those whom we love and hold dear to our hearts. But God is asking us to take this concept one step further – living this selfless love out in the world – in our workplace, the shopping mart, and all the places we frequent in our daily routines.
Saul realized this after his conversion experience on his way to Damascus. Having come to understand, in a much deeper way, the profoundness of the Divine Love which God has for all of His children, his zeal could not become contained, and under the name of Paul, he became the greatest missionary Apostle of Christian history!
In the walk of faith which we exercise daily, may we truly live the love of God not just “in word or speech, but in deed and truth”.
For this is His will for us today and all our tomorrows. May we always respond with an opened and willing heart.
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- “And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.” (1 John 3:23-24)
- “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (John 13:34b)
- “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
- “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
- “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” (John 15:6)
- “The commandments…are summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:9-10)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
- “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:16-17a)
Prayer for the Day
“Eternal and Most Loving Father,Anonymous
I submit my entire self to Your holy will.
All that I am today, transform me into Your servant;
living Your Truth amongst my brothers and sisters.
“Thank You for imbuing me with Your Holy Spirit,
who guides me to live a life of righteousness,
enabling me to be all that You desire me to be,
so that I may give my best in service to Your children.
“Forgive me for my past failures,
rejecting the image of Christ in those around me.
In selfishness, I held back Your Love
and fell short in living the virtue of charity.
“Fill my heart with humility,
so that I may always fulfill Your will,
imitating the life of Your Son, Jesus,
giving love without counting the cost.
“In Jesus’ Most Holy Name, I pray for this grace
for the glory of Your Divine Majesty,
in the Presence of the Holy Spirit,
and for the well-being of my soul for all eternity. Amen.”