Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 22
May Our Hunger for God and for His Word Be As a Restless Hunger within Our Hearts, Always Seeking to Please His Divine Will in All That We Think, in All That We Say and Do – Here on This Side of Heaven.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” – words which we read at the beginning of today’s Gospel, words through which our Lord is inviting us into a relationship of oneness with God Himself.
What does it mean to keep God’s Word? Maybe a better question would be – how are we to recognize God’s Word so that we can keep it? How can we hear His Word in the midst of all the clatter and unholy noise which seems to be reshaping the world in which we live today?
Today, no one is untouched by the culture of secularism and materialistic pleasure which surrounds us constantly. We live in an environment in which the voices of relativism seem to be gaining the upper hand. Their game plan is to promote their own agenda which denies the Voice of reason – a Voice which you and I hold so dear – God’s Voice!
And that Voice which you and I strongly embrace is the Voice of faith. It is the Voice of the moral and religious compass which has guided us in our lives, and has shaped and guided the lives of so many good people throughout the course of human history. It is the Voice which we pass on to our children and our children’s children.
But sadly, when we look around us, we see so much darkness. And those who try to truly live God’s message are soundly attacked from many different fronts – a secular media which seems more concerned with ratings than publishing or broadcasting the truth, an entertainment industry which laughs contemptibly and with scorn at those who espouse and support a moral lifestyle.
There are many in our health industry who advocate and practice a culture of death. And there are those in our judicial system who have lost sight of what it truly means to protect the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn and the elderly.
Jesus said in yesterday’s Gospel, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first…because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you…If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”
And yet, as though with words of consolation, Jesus says to us in today’s Gospel, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”
And then, our Lord goes on to say, “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.”
Each and every one of us, by virtue of our Baptism, has been called by Christ to become co-heirs with Him, inheritors of the Kingdom of God which has been prepared for us from before the beginning of time. It is – in the very nature of our Baptism in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – that you and I have been called to discipleship and an intimate oneness with our God.
We have each been called to become a living witness to the indescribable Love and limitless Mercy which is reserved for each of God’s children. Being a living witness, however, being a true disciple of Jesus Christ does not come without its hardships. Being a true follower of the Christian message does not come without its crosses, especially in a world which prefers to be guided by principles of greed and materialistic self-interests.
For what parent or grandparent has not had his or her heart walked on, at one time or another, by a child or a grandchild who prefers to embrace the seductions of a secularistic culture over the morality and the spiritual life of our Christian faith?
Ours is a message of moral chastity and selfless love. The world’s is one of moral depravity and selfish gratification. Ours is a message of forgiveness and mercy. The world’s is one of retribution and violence.
From the sixth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy from the Old Testament, we read, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Each of us is called to live our life in covenant with the God who is our Creator, to live all the days of our life so as “…to hear the word of God and keep it.”
Merely observing the Law, merely living the outward signs of being Christian will not earn for us the reward of eternal life. Even our Lord once said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven!”
In our First Reading, the Apostles and the elders who attended the Council of Jerusalem, who met to sort out the issues surrounding the admission of Gentiles into the Christian community, had to open their hearts to hear the will of God.
They had to empty from themselves their own false notions of self-importance and pride, so that the Spirit of God’s Truth could guide each of them into making the right decision for the good of the Body of Christ.
For each one of us, for you and me, our goal in life, the very reason we were created in the first place, is for union with God. As Saint Augustine once said, “You have made us for Yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You!”
Those who follow Jesus Christ and who truly seek the will of God for themselves enter into a new family, a family of “saints” as it were, here on Earth and in Heaven.
And Jesus shows us today that our true kinship with Him is more than just a matter of flesh and blood. As adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we need to transform ourselves, following the example which Mary, our Blessed Mother, has set for each of us, in the way she surrendered herself to embrace God’s will for her, especially in this month devoted to the Mother of God!
Our relationship with God requires a renewed discipleship, a renewed loyalty from the very depths of our hearts, so that God may dwell within each one of us – so that our words and our actions may truly be Spirit-guided!
Our citizenship in this life, on this side of eternity, is but a blink of the eye when compared to an existence-without-end on the other side of that Eternal Doorway, through which each of us must one day pass at the end of our time here on Earth.
Each of you reading this meditation today is doing so because of your desire to gain for yourself eternal citizenship in the New Jerusalem, the City of God, as described to us in the Book of Revelation – our eternal home in which there is no more sorrow, no more sickness, where God “will wipe away every tear” from our eyes.
You are reading this today so as to truly live your relationship of love with our Lord and our Savior, a relationship which is based upon an intimate and holy oneness with our God.
The prayer of the psalmist should become our own prayer in the face of all that confronts us and our loved ones here in our daily life, “May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.”
May our hunger for God and for His Word be as a restless hunger within our hearts! And may each of us always seek to please His Divine will – by not only hearing the Word of God, but most importantly keeping it in all that we think, in all that we say and do – here on this side of Heaven!
We know how the story will one day end. We know the final outcome in the battle between God’s Truth and the world of relativism, between Divine Light and the world’s darkness, between Good and evil.
May each of us and all our loved ones be found only and always on God’s side!
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
- “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.’” (John 14:23)
- “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.” (John 14:24)
- “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first…because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you…If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.” (John 15:18, 19b, 20b, 21)
- “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; cf. Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29-30; cf. Luke 10:27)
- “…blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)
- “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? …So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14, 17)
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven!” (Matthew 7:21)
- “[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
- “May God be gracious to us and bless us; may his face shine upon us. So shall your way be known upon the earth, your victory among all the nations. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you!” (Psalm 67:2-4)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus, our Glorious Savior,
we humbly give to You our lives;
do with us as Your Providence wills,
for Your greater honor and glory.
“Make our lives useful to Your service.
The only ambition we have is to humbly and honestly
listen to You and fulfill Your Divine will.
In this, we wish to lift up Your Name, Lord Jesus, not ours.
“We desire to make known the power of Your Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Divine Love and Truth.
We want You to claim us for Yourself,
and use us according to Your Divine purpose.
“And no matter the task
which You assign to us in life,
we will be contented, and full of joy,
to fulfill our purpose as disciples of Your Spirit.
“Lord Jesus, may Your Holy Spirit live in us always,
guiding us to live a virtuous and fruitful life,
always pleasing to You and helpful to our neighbor,
as we help to build up the Body of Christ.
“Fill our lives with meaning and our hearts with hope.Anonymous
And when our time here is complete,
bless us with eternal life in Your Heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus, we pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”