5 and 6 May 2018 Sixth Sunday of Easter B Homily
First John 4:7-10
“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
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 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.”
“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.