YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
THEME: “Love one another as I have loved you”
BY: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
HOMILY: In our world today, love is a concept that has assumed several nuances. There are several meanings of love such that one is confused on which meaning to adopt. Today most people consider love to be sex, unholy friendship and other negative attitude.
But in the gospel reading today (John 15:9-17), Jesus clearly paints a picture of what true love is by giving us instances of God’s love for us in four ways. First that he came to lay down his life for us and there could be no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. Second, he has given us the freedom and opportunity to become his friends, friends of God only if we do what he commands us. He calls us friends instead of servants because he has made known to us everything he learnt from the Father. Third, God manifested this love for us first by choosing us. The love existing between God and us is God’s own initiative. We did not choose Him to enjoy His love rather He chose us to enjoy His love. Fourth, he commissioned us to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last. That means He has given us every requirement for a successful life and the opportunity to receive whatever good we ask God in Christ’s name.
Beloved Brethren, let us think of such love God has lavished on us. Jesus says in the gospel reading that he has revealed this to us to let us share in his joy and that our joy be complete. He leaves us with an injunction: “what I command you is to love one another”. Dearest friends, how faithful have you been to this command “love one another”? Have we really loved others just as Christ would want us to? What are the physical signs of this love for others? True love is selfless, understanding, patient, kind, generous and other qualities found in 1 Cor. 13. Are these qualities found in our love for others?
God’s love for us is universal and that is what the second reading (1 John 4:7-10) reminds us. This universal love of God for humanity made Him send His Son to die for all men. He did not die for a particular race but for the whole of humanity. This challenges us in two ways: First, we should be ready to make our love for others universal and not selective. We should not choose who to love or help or relate with, instead we should accommodate all who come our way. We should learn from God to be universal and unconditional in our love for others. Secondly, we should recognize the universal character of God’s love by appreciating the good that happens to others. God loves us equally and is free to bless anybody at any time. So we should not be jealous even when God blesses those we consider weak, inferior, unfortunate, pagans or ostracized.
This is the lesson Peter learnt in the first reading (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35,44-48) through the conversion of Cornelius and his household that God’s love and mercy are open to all who desire them. So let us not be barriers when others want to experience God’s love or become jealous or angry because they experience God’s love. My dear friends and friends of God, today, let us ask for God’s grace to appreciate the great love God has lavished on us by keeping His commandments and by loving others as He has loved us. This love should help us break down the cultural, ethnic and religious barriers that separate us from others. It should also help us see ourselves as children of one Father. It is when we live in this love that the words of the psalmist will come true: “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power” and this saving power is love. God loves you.
Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe