Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year B 2015 (May 10) Mother’s Day
Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B 2015
Today’s readings, appropriately, are all about love and gifting. I say ‘appropriate’ because when I think of the word ‘mother’, I think about both love and giving.
The love that a mother has for a child is somehow different from that love which a man has for a child, I would imagine. I don’t think a man can feel what it myst be like to have this person grow inside of you, to bond for nine moths with something that is so integrally a part of oneself. In that sense the birth of the child must be somewhat traumatic in that rending apart. But what can be pulled apart is the intimate feeling of love for that child, so helpless, so needy, but reflecting the mother herself.
I think God must be like that. I know we have mental images of God as the Father, very male, but God is really sexless, and so since the beginning of time Jesus was with God, his transition to a human person, so helpless, so needy, reflected God as well.
I think that is why we can see God as love, and why God is love, and why God has gifted us with Spirit, with grace, with everlasting life, even though we are so mortal and so undeserving – so helpless and so needy.
In the first reading today we read of the gift of the Spirit in the early Christian community. We learn that this gift which comes from love was not just for the Hebrew people who had a testament with God, but was for everyone. God’s love knows no bounds.
We can sing God a new song because we recognize what God’s son has done for us and we recognize the gifts he has given us. God has indeed done marvelous things, as the Psalm prays today.
The end result of this love and this gifting of God is proclaimed both in the Epistle and Gospel today by John. In the Second Reading John tells us how we need to react to this love of God and the gifts he sent. We are to love one another. It is as simple and as complex as that. We are to love one another. The model for that love is God, the gratefulness we need to show is to reflect that love of God, and the life we need to live is one where love is the abiding factor.
Over and over we are reminded that we did nothing to merit God’s love, and it is not through anything we do that we earn God’s love, but because God’s great love for us, shown by God’s sending his Son to be the atonement for our sins, that we can know about and mimic that love in our own lives.
In the Gospel Jesus says that he loves us, just as the Father loves him, that same intense, unbridled love that we see in mothers, and Jesus teaches us that if we want to continue to live in that state of love with God, we need only keep his commandments willingly.
Jesus says the result of that will be joy. There seems to be so little joy in the world today. I seldom read the paper or watch the news today because the news is never joyous. But Jesus says: “I have said these things so that my joy may be in you, and that your your joy may be complete.
When was the last time you experienced complete joy? Jesus says that we must keep his commands to love God and one another, and by doing so you will achieve complete joy. He doesn’t say when, he doesn’t say how, but he says you will experience it. That is why it is so important to get the priorities of lives straightened out, to forgive others, to be merciful to others, to help others, to show love to others. That is what it is all about. That, according to Jesus, is the meaning of life – devoting ourselves to God and others.
So many philosophers have sought the answer to that question “what is the meaning of life?’ but here we have it in Jesus own words – he tells us how to do it. Will it be easy? Nothing worth having is ever easy. Ask a mother. She will tell you how hard it is sometimes to love unconditionally, but that is what we are directed to by no other than God him or herself.
Think about it. Reflect on it. Act on it.
That is the extremely Good News that answers the most existential of question – why we are here!
Bishop Ron Stephens
Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA
The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)
[You can purchase a complete Cycle A and Cycle B of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast, from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]