HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C (4)

HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C

THEME: DO YOU GIVE A COUNTERFEIT LOVE?

BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 15 2022

(ACTS 14:21-27, REVELATION 21:1-5A; JOHN 13:31-33A,34-35)

A story is told about a priest who was finishing up a series on marriage. At the end of the programme, he







HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C

THEME: DO YOU GIVE A COUNTERFEIT LOVE?

BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 15 2022

 

(ACTS 14:21-27, REVELATION 21:1-5A; JOHN 13:31-33A,34-35)

A story is told about a priest who was finishing up a series on marriage. At the end of the programme, he was giving out small wooden crosses to each married couple. He said, “Place this cross in the room in which you fight the most and you will be reminded of Jesus’ new commandment, and you won’t argue as much.” One woman came up after the programme and said: “Father, you’d better give me five crosses.” St. Thomas Aquinas defined love thus: “Love is willing the good of the other.” And According to Mahatma Gandhi, “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative only of the brave.”

Gradually, as we approach the birth of the Church at Pentecost, we need to listen to how Jesus envisaged his community. This gospel periscope gives the essentials. At the head of the Christian community stands the glorified Son of Man, in whom God is glorified. But this is no distant figurehead, for he will come to be present among his disciples. How? In the love which his disciples show for one another. One is reminded of the legend about the aged St John, wheeled into the church at Ephesus. When asked for the message of Jesus, all he would say was, ‘My little children, love one another.’

One of the most moving moments in the film, The Passion of Christ, is when Mary (acted by Maia Morgenstern) runs to meet her Son (acted by Jim Caviezel) on his way to the cross and the two strengthen each other. Gibson uses poetic licence to put on the Suffering Christ’s lips the words He speaks from His heavenly throne in the second reading “See Mother how I make all things new!” Gibson’s transposition was theologically insightful: that Christ’s glory was in His Passion, not just His rising and ascension.
St. Augustine said love and do whatever you like. You don’t need preachers or lots of words, all you need is love. And he is right, of course, if we really knew how to love; if divine charity truly informed our character and choices; if the author of love God the Father Himself, if the incarnation of love-God the Son, if the very Spirit of love- God the Holy Spirit, truly shaped our hearts, relationships and actions, the world will change. But we often fail to love. And even when we try, love has many counterfeits.
John’s Gospel does not present a sentimental view of love. This is a type of love that is shown in service and sacrifice. This description of the early Christian community will be repeated in the Acts of the Apostles: “See how they love one another.” Christian love is the hallmark of Christianity. We see it lived in the witness of the martyrs. We see it in the example of the lives of the saints. We see it in the holy women and men who live and love daily, making small and large sacrifices for others.

My dear brothers and sisters, Christian charity and living the new commandment of love is going beyond our self, going out of our own circle to give the love of Jesus to the third person. Christ reminds us that the only way we can overcome the tribulations and persecutions of this world is by remaining united in love. In times of trials and persecutions, love is the greatest virtue that sustains every Christian community. The readings of today challenge us to come out of our comfort zones to reach out to the needy and the oppressed in the community. Jesus made it clear; if we are to understand anything at all about God then we must understand that God’s driving force is nothing else other than love. Yes, Jesus knew living lives of love was the best way to fulfillment, satisfaction, and greater knowledge of God. Just love and do whatever you like!
God bless you!

Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara

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