Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 19, 2019
Listen here (click)
We are invited, invited to love as Jesus loves. We are invited to grow into loving as the Trinity loves. A love that is relational, merciful, forgiving, unifying, full of great joy and abundance, and very inclusive. Today we celebrate that inclusiveness as we welcome our Eritrean brothers and sisters, their culture, their language, their music and how they celebrate the Eucharist. Welcome.
Jesus words this invitation as a commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” This love transcends all barriers, all stereotypes, all logic. It is love of both-and. It is never either-or.
As our parish undergoes the transition of having De LaSalle High School here, it is good to remember that God is with us, showing us how to change so both Parish and School thrive. This is both-and. We will change and we will grow and thrive. There will be times of sadness as we see the Parish plant change, and there will be times of growth as De LaSalle brings new life and energy to our Parish.
God’s love takes the negative and positive, the good and the bad, the light and the dark of our existence and holds both in tension. It is sometimes very uncomfortable to hold this tension. Jesus in his words of today’s Gospel felt this tension. He knew what Judas was about to do, and he counselled the disciples to love one another. Jesus loved Judas and felt pain and sorrow that Judas could not receive his love.
We are invited to receive Jesus’ love and grow into people of love, people who know the hardships of living the life to which we are called, and know the joys of this life. Luke in Acts, says, “They [Paul and Barnabas] strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith saying, ‘It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.’”
Fr. Richard Rohr in one of his talks about the ‘Naked Now’ says this kind of love – love that holds good and bad, right and wrong, light and dark, negative and positive in tension – comes from an experience of God, of God’s love. This love can be experienced through other people, through nature, through someone’s love for us, through deep, contemplative prayer. We need to be totally receptive to God’s love, open our hearts, our whole selves, to receive God’s love for us, who is always inviting us to growth, to maturity.
This love means that we let go of our own egos, that we no longer want to be in control, that we come to know we are not the center of the universe.
Without God’s love our ego takes over. Ego seeks control, seeks its own glorification, seeks adulation. Ego acts like one who knows everything about everything, doesn’t listen, doesn’t care what others think or feel. We call it narcissism – love of self only.
Jesus asks us to grow into full human beings, not remaining trapped by our own egos, not being immature, but growing into maturity, into wisdom.
John in Revelations gives us the symbol of a new heaven and a new earth, a New Jerusalem. “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. God will dwell with them and they will be God’s people and God will always be with them as their God.” As Mary McGlone writes, “This new creation flows from the collaboration of a loving God and humanity eager to be in union with God. It is a way of being that comes about through the mutual love of God and humankind bringing everything to the realization of its greatest potential.”
We are invited to be part of this new heaven and new earth. Even now, God is with us, helping us to grow in loving like God loves, like Jesus loves. The question is, Shall we answer Yes, being receptive to God’s unending love for us and accepting the hardships and the joys this may entail? Or shall we answer No?
Today, let us answer YES. Let us grow into loving one another as Jesus has loved us. “I give you a new commandment, love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”