YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: LOVE REVOLUTION
BY: Fr. Gerald Musa
HOMILY: In the history of the world, there is a long list of revolutions. The word Revolution comes from the Latin word Revolutio, which means to turn things around. Most revolutions usher major change in the political, social and economic orders. One of the revolutionary leaders in Africa, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso said: “You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity.”
Jesus is the greatest and most influential revolutionary who changed world order without using guns and bombs. He simply brought a radical message of love that changed the face of the world. He preached against the reciprocal law of love, which says, love those who love you; do good to those who are good to you and lend your money to those who lend you theirs. Jesus reversed this forms of love by challenging his followers to be different (cf. Luke 6:27-36). The central theme of his revolution is “To make all things new” (Revelation 21:5) and this was why he gave a new commandment. Jesus, the peaceful revolutionary, initiated a revolution of the heart by turning the hearts of people toward God and away from selfishness toward selflessness. The Book of Revelation talks about a vision of creating “a new heaven and a new earth.” This new heaven and earth is not limited to beautifying our cities, but about developing a community towards love and peace.
During his farewell supper, Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 13:34). One would be quick to ask, if this is a new commandment what happened to the Ten Commandments God gave to the people of Israel? Jesus answered this question in another: “I have not come to abolish the laws of Moses, but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). He summarised those commandments into two: a committed love for God and a selfless love of neighbour (Matthew 22:37).
Furthermore, during the Last Supper and just before his suffering and death, Jesus said: “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified” (John 13:31). These words of Jesus redefine glory not in terms of having political power, fame or wealth. His glory emanates from that sacrificial love, which led him to shed his blood for others. Thus, his message to us is that the pursuit of wealth, fame and power only leads to vainglory and the pursuit of genuine and sacrificial love leads to real and eternal glory. In his calculation, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Therefore, when Jesus says, “Love one another” he invites us to live for one another, support one another, encourage one another, share with one another, be patient with one another, be kind to one another and be considerate to one another. According to St. Catherine Laboure, to love is “To see God in everyone.” Very often we are unwilling and reluctant to love because love makes us vulnerable and responsible. Love is also demanding, costly and often involves self- emptying. It demands honesty and sincerity and it is unconditional. However, nothing else makes life more meaningful and worth living than love. To live happily is to love to the end, to love till death.
Justin Martyr, wrote on how the early Christian understood and translated love into action. He said:
“We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
Our prayer is, God help us to love another as you have loved us. Let us heed to the instruction of St. John of the Cross, which says, “Where there is no love, put love – and you will find love.”
5th Sunday of Easter; Acts 14:21b-27; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-33a, 34-35