6 th.Sunday of EASTER. (Year A) (May 17, 2023): Acts 8:5-8, 14-17, I Pt 3:15-18, Jn 14:15-21.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve asks Adam: “Do you love me? Adam answers: “Of course, Eve! You are my one and only love.” Adam was smart enough to give the right answer. But with God, we are often tempted to let other things take a higher priority in our lives than God, such things as sports, pleasure, money, our own ego etc. In today’s very short Gospel, Jesus uses the word “LOVE” five times. In our culture today that word, “Love” conjures up romantic love images-which is good! For without it, the entire human race would have become extinct long ago. But in our culture, it is overdone- “Romantic Love” is, the most written about, portrayed in movies, poetry, soap operas, and music. However, Jesus’ word “Love” connotes a higher meaning. In Greek, there are three different words for love: a) ”Eros”- Romantic Love; b) “Philia”-Friendship/philosophical love; and “Agape” love-used mostly in the Scriptures, which means esteem, affection, giving and caring kind of interest in one another.
Life Message: Thus, when Jesus speaks of “LOVE”- “If you love me keep my commandments” (Love one another as I have loved you “, Jn.13:34-35)- he means “Agape” Love. In other words, it is characterized not so much by the kind of feelings it gives us, which are sometimes warm and affectionate, full of gratitude and peace, having a sense of God’s presence. But sometimes our feelings are those of doubt, darkness, emptiness, which are experiences, which even Saints have. This is a reality that is true in all our relationships. When we love others with an agape love, we are willing to go an extra mile for them, be concerned about them, and visit, spend time, and help them. Admittedly, we can’t measure our love for God by our feelings. But today, Jesus gives us a way of knowing whether we love God: “If you love me, keep my commandments”, he tells us.
Conclusion: Consequently, born human, in the image and likeness of God, we have within us capacities to love, learn, choose, work and so on. But we need the help of parents, teachers and friends to activate and develop these capacities so that we can reach our full human potential. For, “God sent his beloved son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, not to condemn it, but to redeem it from the curse of sin and death” (Jn. 3:16-17). That is why we need the Holy Spirit and why Jesus promised to ask the Father to send Him to us: “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete – to be with you always; to remain with you and be within you.”