The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Gerald Moscardon)
Fear is a very powerful emotion. It is often underestimated but the effects of fear on someone’s life are insidious and often paralyzing. It is like you are stuck in a rut of your own dark past and uncertainties of the future. You cannot move on and you cannot live in the present because of the shadows that creep up from the past and the looming darkness of the future. With the eyes of fear, we take control of our lives to a point of creating illusions that create a separation of reality so we can achieve our own version of happiness – a joy that is temporary, superficial, and incomplete.
During the first few months of my seminary formation, I was so caught up and overburdened with the shame and guilt of my past sins. I felt so undeserving and unworthy. I could not face Jesus daily without shedding tears. It made me miserable and somehow, the things that I was doing in the first few months were to compensate for the guilt and shame. I needed to make up to Jesus and I knew it was not enough. It also made me look pessimistic and overburdened about my future in the seminary. I felt that I could never measure up to the morals and values of the seminary. It was an exhausting and tumultuous few months in the seminary. It was only in the latter part of the first year, through the help of the seminary and the grace of God, that I learned to embrace the darkness of my past and let go of the bleak outlook of my future. I learned to look at things through the eyes of love.
Today’s Gospel is a constant reminder to us that we must remain in love; remain in Jesus in order to be free from fear and experience the fulfillment of our joy. If we follow the way Jesus loved, we will know true joy and happiness. Jesus loves his enemies. Jesus loves the little and neglected. Jesus loves the unlovable. Jesus loves the good but most especially the sinner despite his sinfulness. Jesus is love. If we look through the eyes of love, we can rid ourselves of negative thoughts, have inner peace, and have self-acceptance of our own woundedness. If we look through the eyes of love, we never judge people but show them love that they need. If we love, we invite love from other people too. Jesus gives us a gift to be free from fear and find true happiness. We only have to love because it can truly conquer all.