6th Sunday of Easter – B

Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48                         1 John 4: 7-10       Gospel: John 15: 9-17

“It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 a.m., when an elderly gentleman, in his 80’s, presented to have sutures (stitches) removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. The nurse took his vital signs and had him take a seat, and evaluated his wound. On exam it was well healed, so she talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, she began to engage in conversation. She asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning somewhere else, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told her no, and said that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. He told her that his wife had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease.

As the nurse finished dressing his wound, she asked if his wife would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. Surprised, the nurse asked him. “And you are still going every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?” He smiled as he patted her hand and said. “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”

The nurse had to hold back tears as he left, and thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.” Message : True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me so I have loved you” (John 15:9) and he says “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Here Jesus is talking of a very special kind of love, love that does not think of oneself but sacrifices for the sake of the other. To make sure we would not confuse this very special type of love with other types of love, which often are more lust than love, the writers of the New Testament used a very special word to describe the love of Jesus for us and the love of God for us. They said Jesus loved us with agape love. That is love that does not think of oneself but sacrifices for the sake of the other.

 In the second reading today, John says, “let us love one another since love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7) John uses the word agape for love; let us love one another with this agape sacrificial love of Jesus because this agape sacrificial love comes from God. Then John says something very challenging. He says, “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

If we do not love with this agape sacrificial love we do not know God because God is this agape sacrificial love. When does Jesus show us that agape love most of all? When he died on the cross for us! That is why in the Gospel today Jesus also says, “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)Every Mass is a celebration of this special love of Jesus giving himself for us on the cross.

We heard in the gospel today Jesus telling us, “You are my friends if you do what I command you”. The qualities we normally expect from our friends are trust, faithfulness, equality, forgiveness, joy and sacrifice. Jesus offers us all these qualities in our friendship with him. i) As a friend, Jesus has trusted us by sharing with us everything that he has heard from his Father. Hence, we have to trust him as a friend by listening to him through the Bible and talking to him by prayer.

 ii) As our friend, Jesus will be always faithful to us. Let us return this fidelity by being faithful to him in doing His will.

iii) By calling us his friends, Jesus makes us equal to him. Let us be proud of it and lead lives worthy of our unique status.

iv) As an understanding friend, Jesus is ready to forgive us time and time again. Let us also forgive those who offend us.

 v) As a friend, Christ has told us everything so that our joy might be complete in him. Let us enjoy Jesus’ divine friendship.

 vi) Jesus declared that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend. He has done it for us. Hence, let us also love others sacrificially.

May God bless ALL mothers, and may all of us give thanks to God for the gift of human life, and for all those who participate in giving life, sharing life, nurturing life, and protecting life at all stages. Happy Mother’s Day