LOVE ONE ANOTHER
Meditation for Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C
(Acts 14:21-27; Rev 21:1-5; Jn 13:31-33, 34-35)
Is it realistic to love everyone? We know that no one can be loved in return by everybody, including those that you showed love and care for. Naturally, love diminishes when planted in the dry soil of hate and unappreciation. Human love is selective. But it can cross borders and reach even unfriendly grounds only by divine help. Without this help from above, human love will definitely shrink to selfishness and self-destruction. That is why it is necessary for human love to be open to divine intervention.
Meditating on the readings of today, we see that the divine intervention that uplifts human love comes as an injunction: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” So, the love of God comes, not nullifying human love, but to draw it out of itself to a greater outreach, to reach everyone. The love of God as a commandment becomes the guide and motivation of human love; it is the ‘reason’ and energy that powers the love of believers. To love even as Jesus loved means He had laid down the example to follow, and the principle of love.
Jesus’ love for us defined His words and actions, and ministry on earth. Love conquers the self; it overwhelms and consumes the lover. It becomes part of the person, an inseparable identity. Hence, Jesus said to the disciples, “By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” Since love becomes the ‘life’ of the lover, whenever love is reciprocated, a bond is formed. Thus, the divine love that goes ahead of the lover establishes this bond between the believer and God.
“The love of God urges us on” (2Cor 5:14). Therefore, the Christian, who goes forth to love his neighbor and to love everyone, comes as one who is already in love (with Jesus), and not as one who comes to discover love in his neighbor! He goes forth as one already trained and empowered by the love of Jesus. This is how believers can love one another at all times. And this is how they bear witness that they belong to Jesus, for the effects of their love and lives will always be greater than what human love can offer.
This bond with Jesus that encounters one another in love is exemplified in the life of Paul and Barnabas, as given in the first reading. These two disciples traveled through many cities and villages, especially in Gentile territories, establishing new churches, and strengthening believers, despite many tribulations and persecutions. Their love for the gospel conquered every obstacle on their way, as the Gentiles appreciated the love shown them.
This love that is anchored on the love of Jesus brings newness! Unredeemed human love, with its high boundaries, shortsightedness, and reclining to selfishness, quickly gets boring, dissatisfying, and worn out. The second reading makes us understand that the newness that the commandment of love brings is a foretaste of the new heaven and earth, and the new Jerusalem. It comes forth like a bride adorned for her husband. To love as Jesus loves mingles men with God; it creates room for the love of God and the kingdom of God to dwell among us. The vision of John becomes a living experience for those who obey Jesus’ commandment of love: their tears will be wiped away, they will overcome mourning and pain, and death will not be their end. The love of God will move them forward so that they will not dwell in the past, and all things shall be new for them.
This newness of life that love for one another in Jesus Christ brings is a foretaste of heavenly glory on earth. It is our sharing in the glory of Jesus, in whom the Father glories. The world is full of hatred and division; worldly love is myopic, selective, and selfish. Jesus has planted His love among us that with Him we can conquer the world, and love everyone and love to eternity. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday May 15th, 2022.