5th Sunday of Easter
In this Sundays Gospel Jesus calls us to a new way of living when he tells us to love one another as I have loved you. At one level this is a simple call to love, at another it is a big challenge for us to be Christ like to others in this sometimes horrible world. This means that we should love as Jesus loves, in order to be the face and heart of Christ the face of the fathers mercy to a wounded and hurting world. It seems to me that our faith should constantly challenge us to live lives of love, love of God and love of one another and this ideal is so very hard to achieve. The love Jesus speaks of seems to be narrow and restrictive. He is addressing his disciples when he says, “love one another.” This love may seem insular and applicable just to an inner circle of his followers. Is he telling us that the sacrificial love he calls us to applies only to those around us in the Church? No, of course he is not saying that because we know from other parts of John’s gospel that Jesus’ mission of love includes an outreach to the world (John 10:16 I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.) That outreach in our modern times must include all those who have left the Church for many reasons we should not leave them behind as many people might want to do.
Jesus wants us to be united with him and one another in love. A loving and caring community has a great effect on others bringing those who might be doubtful with it. What more articulate proclamation of the gospel can there be than a group of diverse people drawn together, not by similarities in education, economic status, neighborhood, citizenship, race, etc, but by the love that God has for them and their bringing that love for one another to other people? A community such as this couldn’t help but draw others into it and to one who is the source of their universal love. We are called to be that community of love showing the love of God to those around us especially during this year of Mercy and at all other times as well.