HOMILY: 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER 2020
A father went to see me one morning to ventilate his struggles in life. It happened in a family party when everybody was enjoying and having a drinking spree. The laughter eventually turned into confrontation between the father and his son. The sudden outburst of emotion caused the flaring son hit the father in the face. He was greatly embarrassed when the son declared before the crowd that he is terminating his relationship with his father and decided to live far away from his family. Early in the morning, it was the father who first left the house and was looking from afar while the young fellow was stepping out from his house. He said, it was the saddest moment in our family for I cannot afford to see my son leaving us behind. It pained me so much being rejected by whom I have loved with my very best for the rest of my life. Father, please forgive me if I have done anything wrong against him. As I was listening to him, I do not see any feeling of hatred, only a feeling of resentment; no vengeance but only forgiveness; stripped off with pride, only humility and reconciliation.
We are now on the 6th Sunday of Easter Season. The readings for today are inviting us to reflect on the meaning of Christian love. The foundation of such kind of love is listening to the Father. In the gospel that we have proclaimed, after challenging his disciples to love Jesus is to keep his commandments, He promised that the Father will send us the advocate. The perfect kind of love only dwells in the heart of the Father. He only knows the meaning of authentic love because He himself is love and the wellspring of love. We, therefore, must listen to the Father because we know nothing about love. If we know something about love, probably it is a selfish kind of love. This is not the kind of love that our hearts are longing for. This advocate that Jesus promised is the one who will enlighten us about the meaning of love. The role of Holy Spirit leads us to the path where to find out the real meaning of love. To heed the Father is to laser focus our minds and hearts to the sacred scriptures because it is the treasure chest of love. Contemplating on the bible will certainly lead our hearts to find what love is.
Loving entails suffering and death. The second reading which is taken from the first letter of Peter tells us that Jesus was put to death, for it is God’s will to suffer in gentleness and reverence. The God who is the author of love is the one who first suffered and died for us to teach us that suffering is the most essential part of love. Love is nothing without suffering. Love is meaningless without the death of Jesus Christ. The father who allows himself to be hurt teaches us the true meaning of love. Loving is not just about giving but loving until it hurts in silence and humility. Don’t ever dare to say, I quit when you are oppressed instead be thankful to God because you are getting nearer to the source of love. This is the love that the world has never known which we are trying to unearth.
Authentic love changes hearts of people. The first reading narrates to us the experience of the apostles. Every time and everywhere the name of Jesus is proclaimed the unclean spirits crying out in pain are coming out, the lame walked and great joy spread in the city. This is the power of love. It does not destroy but builds; it does not condemn but forgives; it is not selfish but makes everybody happy. As I was listening to the father’s trembling voice, I was totally stunned. I was not able to preach but I was preached; instead of advising, I was completely advised; instead of loving, I was loved. I definitely feel the power of love transforming and bring me joy. I was indeed evangelized.