Love of Jesus is love of God
A reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2011
Based on Acts 8-5-8, 14-17, Psalm 66, 1 Peter 3:15-18, John 14:15-21
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
The Gospel Reading for the sixth Sunday after Easter is extremely plain, telling us that by loving God and keeping His commandments every day God will not only hear our prayers but will love as Christ loved Him and he will be with us always.
In reading the following passage from John 14 we cannot interpret any other way except that by following Christ’s teachings we are living in accord with God’s desire for us.
The reading also emphasizes that when we live our lives according to the teachings of Christ we are given the Holy Spirit living within us to be our counselor and guide.
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you. I will not leave you orphans…. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father” (John 14:15-23)
Even though the Holy Spirit cannot be seen Christ affirms that the Spirit lives within us who accept Christ and attempt, to the best of our human ability, to live our daily lives with love for all God’s children, with compassion for the sick, aged, lonely, hungry, homeless and marginalized in accord with what Christ himself called the greatest commandments. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Gospel ends with a firm affirmation that; “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
The questions we have to ask ourselves are these;
“Do we seek God and take time every day to communicate with God which is often called prayer?
Do we partake of the gifts Christ gave us in the Eucharist regularly?
Do we speak out against injustice, violence, war, poverty and discrimination?
These are the things that Christ did when He walked this earth and showed us the way to the Father.
Do we give back to God a percentage of the gifts He has given to us by contributing 10 % of what we receive in time or in a monetary donation to support the work of the church or charitable organizations who help the poor, needy, and disadvantaged?
At the present time we are collecting personal care items and also single bedding items and bath towels for a family homeless shelter in our area and this is just one of many opportunities for us to give back some of what God has given us.
This ministry has an enormous debt that is making it difficult for us to do all we would like to do because of the monthly payments and we would welcome any help we receive. There are many ways you can give back to God some of what He has given to you if you just look around.
Combined with prayer, partaking of the Sacraments and being generous with the gifts God has bestowed upon us we demonstrate not only our love of God but are living testaments to the Greatest Commandment according the Jesus Christ.
Christ was more than happy to give everything of himself including his earthly life just so we could have everlasting life and forgiveness of sin but He only asks us to follow what he called the Greatest Commandments by loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Christ gave us the example. If we wish to be welcomed into the Fathers house and claim the place prepared for us there we must live in accord with Christ’s teachings and not some man made regulations.
The following prayer asks the Holy Spirit to abide within us and guide and lead us every day of our life. The more one invokes the Holy Spirit, the more we feel the Spirit Christ promised working within us. May Almighty God fill us with the Spirit and shower us with His infinite mercy and love every day of our life. AMEN
Prayer to The Holy Spirit
By Father Robert Johnnene OFD
O Most Holy Spirit, merciful Comforter; Come, I beseech you, and take up abode in my heart.
Let my weaknesses be penetrated with your strength, so that I may always do what is right and just.
Fill my heart with charity toward all I encounter. Enlighten me in my ignorance, advise me in my doubts.
Purify and cleanse me of all sin and sanctify my soul protecting and shielding me from the temptations that plague me.
Make me truly humble that I may be pleasing to Almighty God.
Instill within me an honest respect of Almighty God and all of His creations. Assist me to be an instrument of God's Word to all I encounter.
Give me the gift of Wisdom to know and live according to God’s will. By your generous bestowing of your gifts, help me to live a holy life and grow in the everlasting love of Christ so that I may join with all the heavenly elect when my days here on earth are ended.
I ask this through Jesus Christ, my redeemer and savior, who lives, and reigns with you and our creator Almighty God as one triune God, now and forever. AMEN