6th Sunday of Easter
Deacon Robin Mendonca
Posted: May 8, 2021
What strikes me about this gospel is the context. That Jesus called his disciples his friends even though this gospel takes place only a few hours before all the disciples either deserted or betrayed Jesus before his crucifixion. And Jesus would’ve known this as well but he chooses to look beyond the betrayal of the apostles and offer them love. And not just any kind of love but the kind of love that he shares with his Father—one that is beyond any human comparison or understanding.
This bond of love between Jesus and the Father IS the Holy Spirit and this love is so intimate and boundless and it knows no limits and its this love that Jesus offers to us. We know that Jesus loves us, however, it’s another thing to experience the abiding love that Jesus has for us. And Jesus gives us the key about how to experience that, it’s by keeping his commandments.
And this is important because knowing the love of God is something that can be lost because we have the freedom to respond to Jesus or not. It doesn’t mean that God stops loving us but that we stop receiving and recognizing that love of God in our lives. It means that we stop abiding in that love.
Jesus uses himself as the example of this. That He too is free to respond or not to the Father’s love but he chooses to offer himself in obedience to His Father.
And then Jesus speaks of “joy” Jesus goes on to speak of the joy that he knows as a result of his absolute obedience to the Father, and the perfect unity they share. Thus, Jesus urges his disciples to choose obedience and to experience his abiding love so that they may also experience this kind of total joy.
Now it doesn’t mean that this joy comes without any type of hardship. Following Jesus is demanding, because we’re not called to simply be spectators, but we’re called to accompany Jesus and pay attention to how he abides in us. And from there, we in turn show others that they are loved by God because we know that love for ourselves. We see Peter do this in our first reading:
Here Peter baptizes Cornelius who is the first non-Jew to become a Christian. Peter knew the love of God for him and he experienced the mercy Jesus had on him despite his betrayal of Jesus. But because Peter abided in Jesus he was able to spread that love. Let us ask God for that grace today: to understand what is preventing us from receiving that abiding love of God.
On another note, today is special day for us to thank our mothers for all their acts of love toward us, big and small. On this day, we have the opportunity to honor our mothers, thank them, and thank God for them.