5 and 6 May 2018 Sixth Sunday of Easter B Homily

5 and 6 May 2018 Sixth Sunday of Easter B Homily

Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48

Psalm  98

First John  4:7-10

John 15:9-17


“Love is of God.”

The Second Reading seeks to illustrate this point.

Love manifests God’s presence.

Love is a sign of our belief in God.

The Second Reading concludes by informing or at least reminding


“In this is love:

      not that we have loved God, but that he loves us

         and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.”


We believe we must show our love of God.

We believe we can never adequately love God.

We can never love God as much and as well as God

loves us.


We may work so hard at loving God and each other that we begin

to think “love is “from  us,” “from me,” rather than “from God.”


We are able to love, in so far as we manage to love, because of

God’s gift of love to us in his Son.


Our failure to love, our inability to love well, may come from our

thinking “love” is

up to me,

exclusively from me,

my generous gift to others.


The Second Reading simply and eloquently reminds us:

Whatever we know of love, can give of love, receive of love

is “from” God and really, in the end, makes its way back to God.


The First Reading addresses how the early community faced

the issue of “loving” non Jewish followers of Jesus.

Jesus and his first disciples were all Jewish.

Jesus, as we meet him in the Gospels, had little to do with people


the Jewish faith,

Jewish culture,

Jewish language and

Jewish ethnic group.


The question before Peter today in the First Reading is:

“What does the community do about non Jewish believers in


The question is basically who can be “in” who must be “out” of the



Peter answers the question by reporting what he has come to “see.”

Peter says:

    “In truth, I see (with the eyes of faith) that God shows no partiality. Rather, in

every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to



We might ask ourselves what we “see” when differences of

language and culture and custom present themselves in our



The God who is the origin of all love,

the God who shows no partiality invites us to “see” beyond the

differences to what we believe in common about love, God

and God’s many gifts.


The Gospel of John speaks to us today about “remaining in



Jesus “remains in the Father’s love.

Jesus invites us to remain in his (Jesus’) love.

Jesus describes a relationship with his disciples that is very


Jesus could have relied upon the metaphor of

teacher and student,

master and disciple,

master and slave.


In fact Jesus relies upon the metaphor of friend, to describe

how he relates to his disciples, that is, to us.


If we “see” Jesus not as master, teacher, instructor, boss, judge, score keeper

but as “friend” there is a level of trust, openness and love that is

indeed very rare.


We might be uncomfortable with the metaphor of “Jesus as



This metaphor: “Jesus as friend” invites us to “see” Jesus as

close, confiding, intimate, trustworthy, forgiving and loving.


Jesus addresses our possible discomfort, our possible concern

about our worthiness or ability

to be “friend”,

to “remain in his love,”

to “remain with Jesus in the Father’s love.”


Jesus reassures us by saying:

“It was not you who chose me,

but I who chose you

and appointed you to grow fruit that will remain…”

The Gospel mentions “There is on greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I taught high school. Mass shootings that occur in schools affect me, as I am sure they do you profoundly.

On Valentine’s Day this year in Parkland, Florida there was a massacre of seventeen people.

Three of those people “took bullets”, laid down their lives for their students, friends, work companions.

A thirty seven year old coach, a fifteen year old student and a thirty five year old teacher showed this type of “greater love”.

They shared abundant and sacrificial love.

We are chosen for friendship with the Son and Father.

May we bear the fruit of the Father’s abundant love that

is showered upon us.

May we follow the great commandment.

May we love one another.







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