Sixth Easter

The Introduction 

Jesus set the ultimate standard for love: putting your life on the line for your friends. Most of us don’t go anywhere near that far. I have a differently-abled friend who’s greatly loved within our parish community. Everyone declares how much she means to them, and how they would do anything for her. But there are things that few will actually do. Sitting with her is one thing; bathing her is another. Bringing over dinner is okay, but cleaning potties is not. Some will only come by when she’s particularly well; when she’s especially frail

and helpless, some can’t bear the sight of her suffering. Each of us has limits on how far we’re willing to go with love, how much responsibility we’re prepared to assume. None of us has a perfect record, and no one shows signs of the “best love” that Jesus models.

Yet Jesus calls us his friends anyway. Even though he’s a better friend to us than we’ll ever be in return to him. Jesus takes our imperfect love and breaks it, blesses it, and passes it around like Eucharist to a hungry world. Jesus multiplies our little fragments of love and makes them sufficient. Our love may not be perfect, but that’s no excuse to withhold what we’ve got. Jesus will make it what it needs to be. Our task is to offer it.

What have you done, and failed to do, in loving those around you?

Name three proofs that you are a loving person. Add to that three ways you would like to be more loving. Look for ways to practice those new frontiers of the heart.

“I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the One who sent me”.

The Scripture (John 15: 11-13 Jesus the Real Vine)

Jesus said, “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you”.

The Story – Public Enemies

When I was a kid my cousin Darren and I used to get in arguments with the neighbourhood kids. We went to Catholic school and they went to public school, and often the rhetoric devolved into snide comments about Catholics vs. “publics”. We may have felt that we had moral superiority on our side, but Steve, Jan, and Jeff held the trump card: Because they were publics they claimed exclusive ownership to the public footpaths, which kept us trapped in our own front yard.

Peter seemed to be trapped in his own front yard, too, by being convinced that Jesus’ message of salvation was intended just for Jews. It’s hard to break out of a mindset that’s been drilled into you from the time you were a child. Yet for all his faults, and they were plentiful and very public, Peter was also morally resilient. He was able to open his heart to the truth that the Spirit moves in ways beyond our understanding and control.

Knowing that the concepts we give our children about God and God’s ways are likely to hold sway in their hearts over the course of their lifetimes, it pays to make sure we’re conveying an honest and true image of God. Even though we and our children have been privileged to be raised in the Catholic faith, God’s ways are various and mysterious and we must let God be God – as if we had a choice in the matter!

The Commissioning

Love is all you need!
The love of a potter for her craft, the love of a sailor for the open water,
the love of a mother for her child, the love of a child for a puppy,
the love of a teacher for his class, the love of a nurse for her patients,
the love of a grandpa for his grandchildren, the love of Christ for his disciples,
the love of God for us, God’s children.
Love is all you need!

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