CHRIST’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE

6th Sunday of Easter           

            While reflecting on today’s scriptural readings, I was inspired to write this short prayer-poem:

All I hold is fragile and weak

Nothing lasts for me to keep

All I see is dark and bleak

Afflicting my soul so deep

But if God is love

Then love I must trust

To hold on to that love

Let go of fear I must

            St. John, in today’s second reading, declares: “God is love.” “God is love” is the most basic truth about God. It is the most basic and yet the profoundest and most powerful reality. John goes on to say that since we are begotten by God, we are to love one another. If we say we know God, we would know how to love. “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

            Our society is characterized by the rise of the culture of hatred and bitterness, of disrespect and rudeness, of falsehood and fake news, of trolling and bullying, of bitterness and contempt, of hostility and violence. Such culture is not only patronized but even promoted and perpetuated by “the powers that be.” The devotional 365 Days with the Lord 2021 has this commentary: “If we are to sum up the things that characterize our present situation with regard to the rise of the culture of falsehood and violence, it would be a summary of the opposite of what love is.” We must have a serious reflection and discussion on this.

            “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” Let me paraphrase and contextualize this in the simplest way: Hatred and bitterness, disrespect and rudeness, falsehood and fake news, trolling and bullying, bitterness and contempt, hostility and violence are only promoted by those who do not know God. They are an indication of the failure to recognize the love with which God loves us. Only in recognizing God’s love are we able to take up the challenge of loving others.

            Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, exhorts us: “Remain in my love.” But before he gives this exhortation, he solemnly declares: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” This is the love Jesus has for us: the greatest love of all, the love of the Father for him. And it is with this greatest love of all that we should love one another.

            Somehow the Lord Jesus is telling us: “Remain in my love. And when you remain in my love, you will also share with one another the love of the Father.” “You will share this love in words and in deeds, and you will counter the culture of violence in your society with my love.” Are you willing to take the challenge? Are you up to this task?

            Someone said, “Perfect love is… Slow to suspect – quick to trust.” “Slow to condemn – quick to justify.” “Slow to offend – quick to defend.” “Slow to expose – quick to shield.” “Slow to reprimand – quick to forbear.” “Slow to demand – quick to give.” “Slow to provoke – quick to conciliate.” “Slow to hinder – quick to help.” “Slow to resent – quick to forgive.”

            Jesus also says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The Lord exemplified this self-sacrificing love by dying on the cross for us, his friends. And not only that, he also blessed us with mothers who continue to incarnate and manifest his sacrificial love. I am sure you will agree with me if I say that our mothers are the best example of a love which manifests itself in laying down “one’s life for one’s friends” – in laying down their lives for their children.

            This is what we commemorate in this Mass and this is what we celebrate on Mother’s Day: Christ’s sacrificial love made manifest in the selfless, self-giving, and unconditional love of our mothers. Someone said that after God, the one deserving our respect and love is first our mother, second our mother, and third our mother. I truly believe that mothers are the greatest mirror of God’s unconditional love and of Christ’s sacrificial love.

            The best gift we can give to our mothers – not only today, but any given day – is our sacrificial love in their behalf. As our mothers have done for us, may we also be a manifestation of Christ’s sacrificial love for them.

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