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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Love One Another as I Have Loved You

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 10, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
(John 15:12) 

Today’s Gospel (John 15:9-17) teaches us about our call as Christians. 

Last week, we heard about the vine and the branches from the passage before the scene in today's Gospel.

Our Lord was reminding His disciples that their entire ministry of discipleship is completely dependent upon Him, and He was explaining their need to allow Him to prune in them whatever is not good and holy.

Now He is reminding them that if they are to bear fruit, then they must follow Our Lord’s example of love. They must love one another for Christ’s sake and according to His example.

My brothers and sisters, today’s message of
Ordination of
Fr. John Paul Shea
love encompasses the fullness of all the commandments of Our Lord.

We are reminded, however, that true love is not about fuzzy feelings. True love is not simply affection.

Christ’s example of love to His disciples was a love that was self-abandoning and self-sacrificing. Jesus shows us that love is a commitment. True love seeks the best for the other person.

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one’s friends.”

Our Lord gave us the most perfect example of greater love by dying on the cross, and He expects us, His disciples, to follow in His

footsteps by laying down our lives for one another, each in our own way and within our own circumstances. Our Lord laid down His life for us out of pure love, and He calls us to imitate His example by laying aside our own desires. Seek the good regardless of cost. Love -- not for our selfish sake -- but for God's. 

Our world does not know  true love because our world has strayed from God. This is why there is so much sex and gratification exploited in all areas of our culture and society.

Our culture teaches us not the way of love, but of selfishness. Our society says, do not give. Take! Do not sacrifice. Enjoy!

Today’s second reading from 1 John 4:7-10 says,
“Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

So many persons in our culture today do not know God because they do not know what true love is. Instead of a culture of love, we have turned to death. People and relationships have become disposable. We are becoming a manufactured society. That is why we are having so many problems.

So much immorality around us… So many kids from broken homes… So many persons who are addicted to drugs or sex or pornography … So many who do not love themselves because they do not know how precious they are….

When God is removed from society, then true love is removed. Persons are viewed as a commodity, whereas we are really God's children. Sex becomes an object of lust instead of a gift of love.

But, God does not want this. He does not want His children to live for our death culture and hedonistic society. He is calling us to live for Him, to live in Truth. 

Jesus tells His disciples, “It was not you who

chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”
My brothers and sisters, we have been chosen! Each one of us! We would not be
here at Mass today if we were not hand-picked children of Our Lord.

The question we must ask ourselves is, “How are we responding to our Lord’s call? How are we accepting His commandment to love in our daily lives?

Each one of us has a different vocation in life. Some of are priests. Some are married. Some  are mothers. Some are fathers. Some are single. We have different jobs and occupations. We have different interests, but there is one commandment that Our Lord requires of each one of us. Our Lord commands each one of us to live in His love.

As we receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist today, let us come to know the depth of our Lord’s love in our lives. And let us strive to follow His example of true love by loving one another as He has loved us.

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