6th Sunday of Easter Year C – 16

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.

5th Sunday of Easter Year C – 16

5th Sunday of Easter Year C – 16

Acts.14: 21-27; Rev.21: 1-5a; Jn.13:31-33a, 34-35


We love our sports-teams and rock-bands and we are proud to be identified with them. So we wear T-shirts and hats and even sometimes the uniforms.

Jesus wanted us to be identified with Him and His team. Since there were no uniforms, habits, badges, bumper stickers, pinups, T-shirts or caps during His time. He made it very simple for His followers.

He said that people would know we are His followers if we would love one another. The beautiful hymn (we are Christians by love and they’ll know we are Christians by our love). All will know we are His disciples by this special identification.

No special hats or uniforms are needed. Our identification is our love for others. Making others happy in our homes, work places and at schools is how the kingdom of God is built.

Loving others sounds simple. But it is difficult to attain. An American journalist, watching Mother Teresa as she cared for a dying, filthy man commented: “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” Mother responded immediately, “Neither would I. I am doing it for the love of Christ.

A soldier was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam War. He called his parents from San Francisco. “Mom and Dad, I’m coming home, but I’ve a favor to ask. I have a friend I’d like to bring home with me.” “Sure,” they replied, “we’d love to meet him.”

“There is something you should know,” the son continued, “He was injured pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a landmine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us.” “I’m sorry to hear that, son. May be we can help him find somewhere to live.”

“No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us.” “Son,” said the father, “you don’t know what you’re asking. Someone with such a handicap (physically challenged) would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can’t let something like this interfere with our lives.

I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He will find a way to live on his own.” At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.

A few days later however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son.

They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn’t know, their son had only one arm and one leg.

Mother Teresa remarked that the greatest disease in the world is not tuberculosis, leprosy or even A.I.D.S.; it is being unwanted, uncared for and unloved. It is easy for us to love those who are good-looking, fun to be with, smart, not giving us any problem, and not causing us any troubles or hassles.

We would rather stay away from those who make us feel uncomfortable and annoying. We very often hear the excuse that he/she has been unloving and grumpy all his/her life. It cannot be true. He/she was not always like that; it is a choice he/she has made. Therefore, they can change if they wish.

Love can be re-learned. We can be re-educated, re-formed and renewed. We don’t have to live in misery and unwantedness. We can change our life; it is a matter of decision from our part. A word of ‘sorry’ can change our whole life forever. We shall try with our parents and friends and see how life is going to bear fruit.

There are three states:

  1. Not to love and not to be loved – this seems like hell on earth.
  2. To love and not to be loved in return – this though painful, is better than the first.
  3. To love and to be loved – this is the blessed state Jesus enjoyed and asks us to practice.

There are at least five kinds of love. They are utilitarian love, romantic love, democratic love (based upon equality under the law), humanitarian love and the fifth kind is Christian love summed up in the commandment of Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you.”

It expresses itself in service, affection and self-sacrifice.

“To love is to will the good of another.” All other affections have their source in this first movement of the human heart toward the good. Only the good can be loved. Passions “are evil if love is evil and good if it is good.”

The words of Jesus “Love your neighbor as yourself” is addressed to each one of us. According to S.F.S. “to love our neighbor in charity is to love God in man.” Love must be the rule of community.

Jesus wants today that: Love should reign the life of our community. We proclaim the “Good News” of God’s love to others and thus justify our call to unity. We shed the spirit of joy and peace emerging from the love we have for one another in the community.

Let us learn to love ourselves so that we may learn to love each other. The old commandment Lev.19:1-2, 9-18 says: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  How do we learn to cherish others and care for them if we have never learned to do the same for ourselves?

How are we to love ourselves when we are told over and over again that we are unlovable?  How do we reclaim our basic worth?   We can become whole and holy only when we learn to love ourselves properly, acknowledging the presence of the Triune God in our souls, making our bodies the “temple of the Holy Spirit.

We love others by responding to the call of God in our lives and by walking in the footsteps of Jesus.  We love others by making sacrifices for them.  This is how the world will know that we are the Disciples of Christ.

So the hallmark of Christian life is love. For Jesus says: “by this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciple.” (Jn.13:35) Amen.