Bible Text: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. John 15.9-17
The dominant theme of Jesus incarnation and mission is not so much on the physical and material miracles that He had performed but it is focused on the Paschal mystery which is the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord. In fact the miracles that Jesus did before the people are nothing compared to the cross of Jesus. The miracles drew its profound meaning from the focal point of the life the Jesus. Time and again Jesus would tell His disciples about it to prepare them for the great event that is about to take place in the near future. That is why the paschal mystery of Christ is the summit of the life and mission of Christ.
The words of Jesus in the gospel tell us what our religion is all about. In ancient times, religion is focused on what the people were doing to please their gods. This is the very purpose of burnt offerings before their gods and in fact others would even offer human sacrifice to perfectly gratify their god. However in the time of Jesus, He made it totally different, instead of asking people to offer sacrifices to the God, it is God who offered His most precious sacrifice to the humanity. The Only Begotten Son of the Most High died on the cross which is the fulfilment of Jesus mantra “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend”. In other words, religion is not all about what the faithful can do to their god but it is all about what God can do and give to His people. Giving God’s most prized possession is the perfect sign of God’s love to the humanity. A person who is willing to die for his beloved is the one who really loves His beloved.
His death on the cross is not the end of his life but it is the way to eternal life. Jesus is teaching that it is by dying that we enter into everlasting life which the ancient gods were not capable of doing so. Today, we are celebrating the feast of St. Matthias, an apostle of the Lord. His fate is almost the same as His master. He was stoned by the Jerusalem populace and was beheaded. His dying is not coercion from his master, it is his personal choice. Matthias is telling us, to follow the Lord in the most perfect way is not a command from the outside, it is the dictate of His heart and a personal decision to follow the Lord. This is the essence of our religion. Ours is not focused on dogmas, rituals and commandments; it is rather focused on what Jesus did once and for all for us. Follow your master out of love and personal decision because we believe that by doing so, we will be rewarded with eternal life.