Celebrating God’s Sacrificial and Unconditional Love for Us
Readings: (1st: Acts 10, 25-26. 34-48; Ps 97, 1-4; 2nd: 1Jn 4, 7-10; Gos: Jh 15, 9-17)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this sixth Sunday of Easter we celebrate our Lord whose love is sacrificial and universal. We celebrate a God who has no favorite and freely communicates his spirit of love to us through his church and our parents. The fullness of this love is expressed in Jesus Christ who is love. It is also expressed in our parents who cooperated with God to give us life.
One major theme that runs through all the readings of this Sunday is Love. That is, God’s love for us all and, the need for us to replicate this love by expressing it sacrificially for others as Christ did for us. God’s love for us can only be compared to the love of a mother for her baby (Is 49, 15). While reflecting over the readings of this Sunday I recalled a song which says: “The love of Jesus is wonderful, so wide I cannot get out of it, so high I cannot get over it and, so deep I cannot get under it so wonderful love…” God loved Christ and, Christ loved us. So we must maintain the chain by extending it to others. Our first reading is an account of how Cornelius and his family (though gentiles), received the Holy Spirit instantly. This as Peter described it shows that “God does not have any favorite.” In order words, God’s love is universal. All He wants us to do is to accept this love and come to him.
Both the second reading and today’s gospel from John reminds us of how much Christ himself loved us. They exalt us to remain in this love and of course to love one another sacrificially. So, as people created in the image of God, who is love, we must exhibit this love. This is the only way we can fully express this image of God in us because, God is Love. When we love we are truly being like God. When we love one another we are also extending his kingdom. When we express this love, we testify that the spirit of God dwells in us. So today’s gospel is an injunction to love one another: “What I command you is, to love one another.” As an injunction it means that we do not have any option than to love one another. The reason is very simple. We ourselves are products of love. This love flows this way, from God to Christ and, from Christ to us. It also flows from God to our parents and, from our parents to us. This is why Christ tells us today: “As the father has loved me so have I loved you.” So we have no reason not to let it flow to others. We must not break the chain!
The love we are talking about here goes beyond mere emotion. The love that Christ is referring to here is a “sacrificial love.” Strong emotions may accompany it, but it is the commitment of the will that keeps sacrificial love steadfast and unchanging. This is the mark of a good and true Christian. Hence, sacrificial love must be patient to bear pains without complaint, shows forbearance under provocation, and it is steadfast despite opposition, and difficulties. Sacrificial love is sympathetic, considerate, gentle and kind. This love is not jealous especially when one is aware that others are being noticed more than him or her. It works for the welfare and good of the other. This love is not arrogant even when we think we are right and others are wrong. Sacrificial love is not selfish and self seeking. Rather, it is an act of the will which seeks to serve and not be served. That is, a strong commitment to help and appreciate others unconditionally. It is always ready to give rather than to receive. It is ready to move out to seek others rather than being sought. The last but not the least, sacrificial love rejoices with the truth and never fails (1 Cor, 12).
Finally, today as we celebrate mother’s day here and in some other parts of the world, what we celebrate today is a unique symbol of sacrificial love, charity dedication and sacrifice. Therefore, today is an opportunity for us to say a big thanks to our mothers for cooperating with God in love to give us life. It is an opportunity to appreciate their efforts and sacrifice for us. So, we must say thank you mum for conceiving me in love; thank you mum for nurturing me in love in your womb for nine months. Thanks to you mum for not aborting me. Thanks to you mother for giving birth to me and for breast feeding me in love. Thanks to you mum for being there for me all the time and, for enduring all my troubles. Thanks to you mum for all the sacrifice you made for me. Thank you for being the best mum in the world. As we thank our mums let us also thank God in a especial way today because, “He has shown his salvation to the nations.”Alleluia, alleluia!
Peace be with you!!