6th Sunday of Easter Year C – 16
Acts 14:1-2, 22-29, Rev.21:10-14, 22-23, John 14:23-29
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make a dwelling with him.” Jn.14:23
In Africa young girls who consecrate themselves to God as nuns dress up as brides for a wedding and sing love songs to Jesus. A few years after such a religious ceremony, a young nun who had been having a rough time in her mission assignment comes back to the convent and asks the Mother Superior: “Mother, is it really true that we are spouses of Christ.”
“Yes, it is true, my daughter,” replies the Mother Superior, “Why do you ask?” “Well,” stammered the young nun, “Since I was professed five years ago, I haven’t actually felt anything!”
Our poor nun may not have felt anything, yet she remains on the right track in understanding the relationship between Jesus and his devotees in terms of an intimate love relationship. When Jesus speaks in today’s gospel of “those who love me” he is referring to his followers.
For Jesus “those who love me” is another way of saying “my disciples” or “those who believe in me” or simply “Christians.”
The relationship between the Christian and Christ is essentially a love relationship. That is why Jesus said in John 15:15 “I do not call you servants any longer … I call you friends.” Yet many of us feel more comfortable serving Jesus as boss rather than relating to him as a friend.
There is a limit to what a boss can demand from you. There is no such limit when it comes to friendship and intimacy.
One thing we know about love is that lovers want to be with each other. But Jesus is not physically present. We cannot physically see him or touch him. This is the dilemma we see in the problem of the young nun. How can you love an absent Jesus?
This is what today’s gospel is all about. In the gospel Jesus prepares his disciples, those who love him, for his departure from this world and shows them how they can keep love and intimacy alive even in his physical absence.
“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)
If you love Jesus, (1) Keep his word. Follow his teachings. (2) This will activate God’s special love for you, and (3) Jesus and his Father will come and live permanently with you.
In this way the vacuum left by the physical absence of Jesus will be filled spiritually by the divine presence which is as real as or even more real than the physical presence. Our part in this whole process is to focus on keeping the word of Christ.
The gospel passage reminds us that the Holy Spirit, abiding within us, is our teacher and the source of all peace. The passage offers a vision of hope. Jesus promises his followers that the Holy Spirit will come and instruct them in everything they need to know.
While reviewing today’s readings, I realized that they have three common denominators. In the Christian spirit, we are called to do all things in the spirit with the Spirit of Christ.
In other words,
(1) We are called to walk in the Christian spirit;
(2) We are called to do all things in the spirit; and
(3) And we are called to walk with the Spirit of Christ.
Rossini was an Italian who composed some beautiful music. He was once given a beautiful watch by the King of France. He was very proud of his watch because it was a royal gift. A few years after he had been given it, he showed it to a friend. His friend told him that although he had had the watch for years he did not know its real value.
‘Impossible,’ said Rossini. ‘Lend it to me for a moment,’ said his friend. Taking the watch, he touched a secret spring and an inner case flew open revealing a beautiful painting of Rossini himself. The composer had never known that the painting was there.
Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of you and me, in the hearts of men and women. He is the indwelling spirit. Though we may not be aware of Him, it is He who impels us to do good. Holy Spirit guides our communities in many ways:
=> He moves us to make right decisions as was the case in the early church: “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us.” The Apostles felt their oneness with the Holy Spirit.
=> He inspires us to do good, and strengthens us to accept trails and difficulties for the cause of the Gospel.
=> He helps us to keep the word of love that binds us with God and with one another.
What does it mean to walk in the Christian spirit?
To walk in the Christian spirit also involves the embracing of certain characteristics. The first, and the most important, is the attribute of unity, all the members being of one spiritual mind. Through unity, there is harmony.
Through harmony, there is strength. Through strength, there is perseverance in the living faith. And in the end, those who are joined in the Christian spirit, they achieve their goal, eternal life and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Let us get out of the “each man for himself,” from egoism and self-indulgence. Let us be responsive to the Spirit and promote love, forgiveness, and service in order to live as sincere and authentic children of God. Amen.