The Gospel Today
Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle
Jn 15: 9-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”
Reflection (Sem. Ernie Sican)
Love is mentioned nine times in this short Gospel passage (NAB version). This shows how Jesus emphasized the importance of love not only to Christianity but to the whole of humanity. The Ten Commandments is summarized into two – to love God and to love our neighbor. In fact others would summarize the whole Bible into one word, “Love”. In the Old Testament particularly the book of Genesis, God created the world out of the overflowing love of the Trinity. In the New Testament, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….” The incarnation of Christ is God’s expression of His immense love for us. The whole of salvation history is the concrete manifestation of God’s love. The entire bible is God’s love letter to humanity that we will always be reminded of His eternal love for us. What more can you ask for?
Can you imagine a world without love? Can you imagine living in a community without love? Can you imagine a family where love is absent? Can you imagine yourself living without love? What then is the meaning of life without love?
Love is the reason why a mother would wake up early in the morning every day to prepare the food of the family. Love is the reason why a father would endure the long hours of work or venture to distant places to earn a living. Love is the reason why many relationships and even lives are sacrificed. Also many books and poems were written, many songs were composed and many innovations were made in the name of love. Whatever our understanding of love, it always invites us to go out of ourselves and express it in whatever way we can.
So far, what have you done in the name of love? What little things have you given up as an expression of love to your beloved? Jesus offered his life because of His love for us. He is not expecting you to do the same. But, what can you give back to God as an expression of gratitude for His immense love?
I believe that growth in charity and faith can only be gauged through retrospection. Even in the midst of life’s struggles, we can find the hands of God maneuvering us toward something greater and better. We only have to anchor our faith in Jesus who “overcomes the world” for us. If we are in touch with ourselves, there we will find our connectedness with others and God. It is only then that we can find the seed of charity and faith growing as a natural part of us and that is the only time we can say that we have experienced the peace Jesus offers.