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No Greater Love


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SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

First of all, I’d like to wish all of our Mothers, Grandmothers, Great grandmothers and mothers-to-be a very happy Mother’s Day. I will offer my Sunday Mass for all of you, your special needs and your intentions. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

The selection from the gospel of John today is taken from the wonderful Last Discourse of  Jesus as he is reflecting with his disciples in the Upper Room at the Last Supper in the final hours before his Passion.

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you, remain in my love.” (15:9)

This means that we need each day to make a conscious choice to abide in this love of Jesus, rather than in our own ideas and ambitions, our comfort zone and preconceptions or our self-reliance. Father Cornelius a Lapide, S.J. (+1637: Jesus says, “Show me your modicum of love, and you shall experience my greater love for you.”

Then Jesus goes on to say, “I have told you this so that my joy will be in you and your joy may be complete.” (15:11)

We are chosen for joy. However hard the Christian life is for any of us, it is, both in the day by day plodding and in the goal, the way of joy. There is always joy in doing the right thing. It is true that he is a sinner, but he is a redeemed sinner, and in that, there is joy.

“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (15:12)

We are chosen for love. We are sent into the world to love one another. Sometimes we live as if we were sent to compete with one another or to dispute with one another or even to quarrel with one another.

“No greater love is there than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”(15:13-14) 

This assurance was clearly and firmly given in Jesus’ gift of himself on the cross. Throughout his public ministry, Jesus had made countless overtures of love—curing a paralytic, giving sight to a man born blind, forgiving a woman caught in adultery, reaching out to Gentiles, calling little children to himself, raising to a widow’s son to life, teaching the crowds, touching the lepers.

All these and so many other loving overtures reached a climactic crescendo on the cross. Thereupon, Jesus accomplished the ultimate act of love by forgiving and healing and making whole all who were and are wounded and broken.

“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 (15:15).

William Barclay points out that the word doulos (slave) was as a servant of God was no title of shame, but one of highest honor. Moses was the doulos of God, as was Joshua and David. Paul loved to use attribute the word to himself. And Jesus is saying, “I have something greater for you yet, you are no longer slaves, but friends.” Christ offers an intimacy with God that not even the greatest men knew before he came into the world.

“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 of the Father in my name he will give you (15:16).

This reminds us of God’s command in the Garden of Eden: “Be fruitful.” What does it mean? Jean Vanier offers an answer: “To bear fruit is to bring people to life. Not to judge, not to condemn, but to forgive. It is to remove our neighbor’s burden.”

“This is I command you: love one another (15:17).  

Dear Jesus,

I praise and thank you for your love for me,  

You say you call me your friend.

What an awesome thing to behold, dear Lord.

Please allow me the grace to remain faithful to you always.

You ask that my life be fruitful in loving.  

I’m getting up in years now, dear Lord,

and I’m not sure how fruitful my life has been,

but I offer what I can, a little bit of writing,

my daily prayer ~ that’s about all ~ these days.

All I know is I love you.  I am forever grateful for yours. 

And now, before you go, here’s lovely music video for you. Click here. 

And here are today’s Mass readings. Click here. 

With love, 

Bob Traupman 

contemplative writer

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