May 19, 2017
Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
The Gospel Today
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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. Philip Faustino S. Volante)
We can quote so many romantic movies, romance novels or songs about love taking different forms and styles depending on what a person who’s in-love feels at the moment. But the love Jesus tells us in the Gospel for today gives us a different and challenging definition of love “… to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” First of all, Jesus is showing us a love beyond the romantic aspect, a love that is more inclusive. A love that goes beyond the people we care about, to love even those whom we do not know and even those we do not like. Can we accept this kind of love from God or from others? Can we also give this kind of love without asking for anything in return?
The Lord is not asking us (well, maybe some of us) to literally “die” for our friend, or for someone we love, but the Gospel is reminding us to “die” to ourselves for the sake of others. We are called to be more and to think more for the service of others than ourselves. For example, we must let go of playing videogames when someone is in need of someone to talk to. We can forego of our Zumba session for the day to look after our neighbour’s daughter who is alone in their house. We can cancel our barkada gimmick so that we can help out in the Parish feeding program activity. Dying to oneself also means that we have to look at ourselves and try to see what blocks us from giving our total self to the will of God. We must also die from our inhibitions, pride and prejudices in order for us to live in accord to what God wants for us. This dying from within is more difficult to bear, but we must always have our full confidence in God that Yes we are dying to ourselves, we are being deflated of who we are, but we are being born again configured to God. We are being inflated by the graces and blessing coming from God.