Gospel Reflection for May 9th – 6th Sunday of Easter 2021 By Br Michael Moore OMI
Love of God and each other
It is suggested that the theme and message of love is the basis for more plays, songs, novels, films and poems that any other human emotion! Traditionally leading up to Valentine’s Day, we see this everywhere, especially in florists and card shops. We try to express as best we can through, chocolates, flowers and gifts what we mean when we say I love you. While these are all very important, there is the danger that they remain a little too romantic. When Jesus speaks of love in the gospel today, he is speaking of a very different kind of love.
The second reading begins with this call; ‘Let us love one another since love comes from God.’ In the same reading we read; ‘God’s love was revealed when God sent his only Son so that we can life through him… this is the love I mean, not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his to be sacrificed.’ This is the sacred and profound love that God has for each of us. It recall Jesus’ own words in today’s gospel; ‘there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.’ While love is life-giving and central to our experience of being human, there is in Christian love the reality of selflessness and sacrifice. There is nothing vague, sentimental or romantic about Christian love. Jesus not only spoke about this, he demonstrated it through the way he lived. When he washed his friends’ feet he was showing them how much he loved them and then said; ‘I the Lord and master have washed your feet. You, then, are to wash each other’s feet. I have set an example for you, so that you will do what I have done for you… this then is what I command you; love one another.’ This is Christian love at its most radical and explicit. This is the sacrifice of Christian love; that we reach out to others, put their needs before ours and serve them.
While washing other people’s feet was a part of Jewish culture at the time of Jesus, it is not so much a part of ours today. However, we can love and serve others without literally washing their feet. During this most challenging and difficult of years, we have seen and witnessed so many acts of sacrifice, love and service. Consider all the medical staff who cared for the sick and dying while putting their own lives in danger. So many parents and families became teachers as they turned their kitchens into classrooms and tables into desks as they homeschooled their children often in very difficult circumstances. In so many places, food and clothes banks were opened to care for those who were and are still in most need. These are all living and practical examples of Christian love and service. This is exactly what Jesus means when he asks us to wash each other’s feet and love as he loves us.
We must never underestimate the impact our small acts of kindness love and service have on others. Perhaps we are tempted to see these gestures as unimportant and even insignificant. They can and often do make a huge difference to the other person. Maybe we will never know how our acts of love and sacrifice affect others – that ok, maybe we don’t need to!
This is an encouraging and challenging gospel. If we say we love God and follow Jesus, then we are at the same time called to love others and care for them in whatever way we can. We are called to show our love for others and God in and through our ordinary lives.
As scripture reminds us; ‘This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, are to give our lives for each other… our love for each other should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.’ (1 John. 3.18).
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel||John 15:9-17 ©|
You are my friends if you do what I command you
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