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

Second reading 1Jn 4:7-10

The Gospel Jn 15: 9-17

‘All you need is love’ – as the Beatles’ song goes, and the readings of this week, the 6th Sunday of Easter, have the language of love and friendship. Peter in the first reading is recorded as saying that he has come to the realisation that God has no favourites and that anyone of any nationality is invited to be a part of God’s love. In the second reading the commandment to love one another is an active one and only in loving can we know God. In the gospel passage for this Sunday God is stated as the source of love. And if we can be and remain in God’s love we will have life and our joy will be complete.

The commandment then is to ‘Love one another since love comes from God’, (1Jn4). The commandment to love one another occurs twice in this Sunday’s gospel passage. Perhaps it is not about engaging in some grandiose gesture like on Valentine’s Day, which has its meaningful celebrations, but rather asks for the daily gestures that acknowledge one another, that include, share, encourage, heal, bring joy. All that involves ‘laying down one’s life for another’, in small but significant ways.

Another point in the gospel passage is that Jesus calls his disciples ‘friends’ and not ‘servants’. Thinking of oneself as a servant implies a duty, that we do actions out of a sense of duty whereas a friend will act out of love. Clinging to a duty keeps us in a state of childhood, lacking a maturity. The love Jesus teaches does not have a hidden agenda and can therefore only mature into and remain in the Source of all our being, God.

The command, while very clear, can at times be a challenge – ‘What I command you is to love one another’.  Let us recall the examples of all who loved us unconditionally and of Jesus who healed, forgave, listened, welcomed acknowledged, challenged and ultimately laid down his life for his friends. And let us pray for all who need love in their lives – those seeking refuge, those bereaved, those feeling abandoned and all who need forgiveness. God who is love, may we remain in you so as to love others as you love us.

 

 

 

 

 

Edel Murphy, OP.