Homily for the sixth Sunday of Easter - Year B - Jn. 15:9-17


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

" As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.


" This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."




Homily:


" As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love."


The Ascension of the Lord is near. We will celebrate it next Thursday. This is why the Church proposes to us today a gospel that speaks to us about love of God and neighbor. For, in Heaven, where the Lord dwells for all eternity, there is nothing but his love, boundless love, love always and forever. But it is a love that is holy and pure, a love that is always heavenly and devoid of earthly covetousness. It is about this love that the Lord wants to speak to us today. He wants to reveal to us the love of the Father; he wants us to understand what is his love, for he says, " Abide in MY love."


" If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."


There is a logical progression to things, and there are steps whose order must be respected: we must first observe God's commandments in order to then be able to abide in his love. One is the condition for the other. We must first acknowledge that God is our Master, that it is he who is the Lord and who commands us as our Head. Only then, insofar as we obey him, we will be able to abide in his love, and so be one with him. Our communion with the Lord in the love of the Father depends on our obedience to his sovereign will and to his orders which are communicated through his Church.


" These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."


When we think of obedience, we are not always joyful, because obedience can be restrictive. But, if we have the good presence of mind to remember the Lord who awaits us in Heaven, as well as his love, then we are joyful: we already see the fruit and the result of our obedience to the law of God, and we are already happy. And when, finally, the trial of obedience is past, that is the moment of perfect joy, joy in all its fullness, that which belongs to the elect of Heaven! " These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."


" This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. "


This is the greatest proof of love: to give one's life for those we love! The Lord did this before us, and he invites us to do the same, if it were ever necessary. Jesus underwent the trial of the Cross because he loves his Father forever and ever, and because he has eternally loved us in his Father. But this love had to be crucified on the wood of the Cross, for original sin had disfigured the image of God which had been perfect in man at the time of his creation. Ever since the sin of Adam, in order for love of the Father and of men to be perfect, it must necessarily pass through the Cross of Calvary! Ultimately, it is in the Cross itself that love achieves perfect happiness: " When you will have come to that point of perfection, the point at which sufferings will seem sweet and agreeable to you for love of Jesus Christ, you will then be able to consider yourself happy, for you will have found Paradise on earth." (The Imitation of Christ, Book 2, chapter 12)


" You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."


When the servant carries out what his master commands, that servant does not know precisely all that his master knows: in obedience, there is always something one does not understand, and which one must accept. This is the very principle of obedience. But when we have passed through the trial of obedience to the law of God and are, then, united to God in love, we are no longer ignorant of what the Lord is doing, for Jesus is the very Word of God, he is the full expression of what he has always known and will always know. So, in the love of God, we become friends of God, participating in his own knowledge, knowing what he does, penetrating - so to speak - the Mystery itself of God.


" You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."


The Lord Jesus gives us his own command: " This I command you, to love one another." Let us remember well these words of the Lord. We have heard them many times. He speaks them again to us today, shortly before the celebration of his Ascension into Heaven. Let us turn our spirit toward the Lord who awaits us there where he dwells, in the love of his Father. Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to help us to do so during the celebration of this Sunday's Mass. It is She who will lead us to true love of God and men!



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