5th Sunday of Easter:
What if you went up to a mother holding with her adorable baby in her arms and told her, “Ma’am, you’re loving your baby the wrong way!” Imagine telling a father that the way he loves his daughter, his little princess, isn’t right. Or, what would happen if you told a married couple, celebrating their 25th anniversary, “Excuse me, but your love for each other seems inadequate.” What would be the reaction if I told two close friends that their relationship was not based on love but on using each other? Or telling a priest, it doesn’t seem that he really loves his flock, that he is inteased trying to control them!
The Christian always goes back to Christ himself, not just His words, but His actions. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another”. We can not remain in our own love. Why? We are lousy lovers. We mess things up. We exaggerate love, we ignore it, we go from one extreme to another.
Maybe it's because we may believe that everything in the world is about love - but it's our own type of love we want to give and receive. If that be the case, then it has nothing to do with love. Instead, it seems more to do about power and being in control!
Christ is here to show us a love that will set us free - that brings joy and a peace that no other can. I may not think myself worthy of His loving me, and no doubt, I am not. But we have to be reminded, again and again, of His words, “ It was not you who choose me,” He says “but I who choose you.” He loves me to death. He loves you to death. You are worthy of Christ dying for you, regardless if you wish Him to or not. The fact is He did, not only does it show us how much He thinks of us in His heart, God respects us, give us our dignity, even if all we can see and experience are our wounds.
Maybe, this is why Christ, to save us from our oftentimes crude and confusing experiences of love, does not call us His lovers - He calls us friends. Friendship, we understand a bit better than love. Friendship goes beyond feelings, emotions - it is profound and enduring, and tested beyond the natural circumstances of life. It is born from a duty of the heart and soul - it comes to the rescue and yet it is respectful. It does not seek to control or dominate the other. It can be as tender as it can be forthright. Because this type of love concerns itself with our human dignity which comes from each of us being made in God's image and likeness, it is willing to tell us our faults and suffer loss to help make us what God intends us to be - to be truly and fully human as God intends us to be - with life to the full, fruit in abundance.
As I have loved you, Christ says, in that manner, we are to love.
“What a friend we have in Jesus”.