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TRUE FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE

FOR SUNDAY 05.05


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last - and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.


JOHN 15, 9-17 (NIV)

 

On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we reflect on events that have transformed the course of salvation history: the Ascension of the Lord and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. These moments are like bridges that lead us to a fuller life with God and to a new quality in our everyday lives.

 

Have you ever wondered about the magnitude of the Father's love for the Son? It is a perfect, complete, and infinite love. It is in this love that we are called to abide. This is no easy task. Often, our human hearts are like cracked vessels, seemingly letting love escape. The early Christians often experienced how difficult it was to remain in unity and love. Despite this, they humbly heeded the voice of the Holy Spirit, overcame differences, and remained in the love that Jesus had instilled in their hearts.

 

The Apostle John does not use the word "love" casually or trivially. In the Greek original, he uses the word "agape," which denotes sacrificial love, the kind that gives everything, asking nothing in return. This is the love that is ready to sacrifice itself for a friend. In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel according to John, we read - "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."

 

In the context of the approaching Ascension, these words take on special significance. Jesus will soon physically leave his disciples, but he promises them the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to abide in God's love and keeps God’s love alive in us, even when Jesus is not with us physically.

 

Our forebears in faith, whom we read about in the Acts of the Apostles, experienced how difficult it is to remain in love and unity when external circumstances seem to disrupt everything. Despite this, they humbly listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit. They managed to overcome differences and remain in the love that Jesus had instilled in their hearts.

 

What does this mean for us today? The call to abide in Christ's love may seem just as challenging today as it was for the early Christians. But we have the same promise and help from the Holy Spirit. Let us allow this Spirit to transform us and make our hearts more like Christ's heart. Prayer, studying the Bible, and faithfulness to God's commandments daily, strengthen us in loyalty and bring us closer to perfect love. Following them come the fruits - acts of kindness, which the world so desperately needs.

 

Let today's Word become a call for us all, as we celebrate the Ascension and await the Descent of the Holy Spirit, to renew our commitment to living in the love that Jesus offers us. Let it be an active and sacrificial love, seeking the good of others, even at the cost of our own comfort. May it become a bridge that leads to a fuller life with God and with everyone we meet on our path. May God bless us all.


 

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