Scripture: Lectionary 288. 5/10/12: Acts 15:7-21. Psalm 96:1-2.2-3.10.
Love and joy are the two themes that are present in the Gospel for today. Joy is the result of the love Jesus is speaking about to his intimate friends, the apostles. This is also the spirit of this season of Easter when we are joyful for the gift of love seen in Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the Cross then his glorious resurrection resulting in joy for all who believe in him. We are encouraged by both love and joy and strengthened when the bright sun warms the earth, displays beautiful flowers and surrounds us with trees already fully dressed in green. Easter is here and moves along with the season of spring. New life surrounds us and helps us to appreciate the moments we take to reflect on the love and joy Jesus has given us.
Jesus speaks as the Revealer in John’s Gospel. Faith and love are the golden threads that weave through his discourses in this Gospel of faith and agape love. Even the commandments are essentially seen as love in action, that is, doing the will of God for God, by loving God, our neighbor, and ourselves.
In the Gospel scene we are listening to Jesus at the Last Supper thus the Eucharist is in the full picture of the love and joy Jesus is speaking about. Passover is the time when freedom is given to the People of God and Jesus proclaims this celebration with joy. “It is with desire that I have desired to celebrate this feast with you.”
His gift will also be expressed in what he says in these words, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” His actual death goes beyond just for his friends; it is for everyone even for his enemies or oppressors. We are fortunate to have such love from someone who is both human and divine. He dies for all that all peoples may live on in and through his love. He has not left us orphans. His return to the Father after his resurrection is the sign that “all is finished” for his earthly gift of himself to us. His resurrection brings new life to us and so we too have a profound reason for living out the commandment of love that he has given to us.
We thus become people who are joyful and who have hope in the life he has promised us. This is the steady message we have throughout this Easter season. Though our passage is very succinct we have the full message of his love. “I have come that they (you, me) may have life and may have it more abundantly.” Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia!
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby