Homily for the sixth Easter Sunday - Year C - Jn. 14:23-29
Father Daniel Meynen
"Jesus said, «If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
"«These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
"«Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, «I go away, and I will come to you.» If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.»"
"Jesus said, «If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words.»"
Our whole life, our whole Christian life consists in loving God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength. We have no other goal to attain: if we fail to achieve this goal, our whole life is in vain, our entire life is lost. "He who does not love me does not keep my words." This means that someone who does not love God does not have the words of eternal life in him (cf. Jn. 6:68). Now, someone who does not love God must necessarily love something other than God, because man is made in order to love: love is in the depths of every human being to motivate him to act. Thus, if man does not love God, he loves something else, something other than God. This something else is what Saint John calls "the world": "If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him." (1 Jn. 2:15)
Our entire life consists in loving God and in loving him only! If we do so, God will enter into us to make his home there. This is accomplished in one who receives communion, eating the Body and the Blood of Christ worthily: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." (Jn. 6:56) The Eucharist is the sacrament of the absolute, the sacrament that asks that we love God alone, above everything else. One who loves the world cannot receive the Eucharist and benefit from it. But one who loves only Jesus, and loves him for the sake of Jesus alone, receives eternal life and escapes judgment because all of his soul and all of his body is pure in the eyes of God: "He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (Jn. 5:24)
"«The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.»"
In order to help us preserve our love of God, and in order to encourage us to constantly grow in this love, the Father, together with the Son, sends us his Spirit. The first time he did this was on the day of Pentecost. He continues to do so throughout the Church's life, notably in the course of every eucharistic celebration. For the Eucharist, inasmuch as a memorial of the Lord, allows us, by means of the power of this sacrament, to remember Christ in person, that is to say to remember the Word of God, which Christ is in essence. It is in the celebration of the Eucharist that the Spirit of the Lord brings to our remembrance the Word that is Christ.
"You heard me say to you, «I go away, and I will come to you.» If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I."
Paradox of paradoxes! Jesus had just said: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him," but now, if we love him, we must rejoice and be comforted in his departure and absence! A paradox, perhaps... But not completely. For there is a very narrow link between the departure of Christ and his return: "I go away, and I will come to you," Jesus said. There is a link between the departure of Christ and his return, because the departure of Jesus on the day of his Ascension into Heaven is only the sign of his Return at the end of time: "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." (Ac. 1:11) But most important for us, we who are alive at the present time, is that, in every Eucharist, Christ already comes back; he anticipates, in a way, his second coming.
Let us therefore prepare our heart to receive Jesus within us. Let us receive him with a great love. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us with his power: may Mary, his mystical Spouse, intercede on our behalf to obtain this for us!