Homily on “Love is not what we feel; it is not what we say, but what we do.”

Love One Another_Holy Spirit

Homily on “Love is not what we feel; it is not what we say, but what we do.” based on the Gospel reading (Jn 14:15-21) for the 6th Sunday of Easter:

Over the past week, if you have been reading the daily Gospel Mass readings from John’s Gospel – Chapters 14 to 16 including today’s Gospel, we have read the “farewell discourses” of Jesus. Please make time to read and reflect on them because these passages are important because they show the way that Jesus prepares his followers for the time – after his death, his resurrection and after his ascension – when he will be present among them in a new and different way, with the coming of the Holy Spirit.

They are packed with meaning and with “message”.  Others even refer to them as Jesus’ love song to His disciples. Jesus speaks about making his home in us, and about us “abiding” in him.  He talks about giving us a kind of peace which the world cannot give and cannot take away.  He calls us “friends” and “chosen” and tells us – in fact, commands us – to love each other.

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. (John 15:12-17)  “The person who has my commandments and keeps them or observes them, he or she is the one who loves me.”

What we need to understand is that when Jesus spoke of love, it was not in terms of emotions.  For Christ, love is primarily a matter of the will, attitude and ACTION.  There is no virtue in liking someone.  There is also no sin in not liking someone.  It is what we do with those feelings that results in sin or in virtue.

For example, it is not sinful to be angry… but the command is “Do not sin in your anger.”

We can speak of our love for the poor.  We can shed tears of compassion for the poor, for those who are suffering. But unless we are willing to put some time, effort, and money to help the people in need and suffering, our talk about how bad we feel for other people really means nothing.

The important thing about love is not what we feel, not what we say, but what we do.  We show our love primarily by the things that we do. Love requires self-sacrifice. Love is self-giving.

The important thing is not about saying we are Christians – but the question is – are we living as Christians? We have Marian devotions particularly during the month of May.  The question is – do we have Marian way of living – of total surrender and trust in God and love of Christ.

Jesus said that by our love for one another, people will know that we are His disciples.

Anyone can say, “I will do good to that person, because I like him.” But – It takes strength of character to say, “I do not like that person, but as a Christian, I will do good to him and wish him well anyway.”

For Christ, love is primarily a matter of attitude and action.  The attitude is: regardless of how I feel about a person, I will treat him as I want other people to treat me. And this is where we start to get real.

<a href=”http://stcatherinevallejo.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Divine-Mercy-Sunday2017.mp3”>Divine Mercy Sunday2017</a>

 

We may not be able to control how we feel, but we can control what we do. Of course – this is much easier said than done and therefore many people easily conclude that the Jesus’ commandment of love is unrealistic. It is just nice church talk; but not in real life, it just won’t work.

Of course, on our own, if we rely just on our own effort, we are doomed for failure from the outset.

Here’s the difference between Christianity and other non-Christian religions – with all due respect. Unlike the leaders of non-Christian religions, Jesus did not just leave his followers with teachings or values and concepts and principles to live by – Jesus left the disciples – us – with His abiding and intimate presence through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said:  “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.” – the Third Person of the Trinity.

Unlike non-Christian groups – We – the Church – the People of God – the Body of Christ – the Temple of the Holy Spirit – we have more than just statues and icons which remind us of God’s love for us.

Jesus left us with a special connection to Himself through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is alive – is still present among us, within us, around us.  We know Him through the Spirit of God in our deepest hearts… in our deepest being.

Jesus said:  “Behold – I am with you always until the end of the age…”

No leader can teach his followers how to anticipate every possible event or crisis the future might bring.  So – it is NOT enough just to learn how the leaders met their challenges by reading the history…

Jesus knew we would face different challenges in the 21st century – which are quite different from 2000 years ago or even 100 years ago or even 10 years ago… So – The Church –we – and her leaders can and need to rely on the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

How? By loving Jesus and keeping His commandments, by observing them, by being open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  They are necessary in order to activate so to speak the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured unto us at baptism and confirmation in order for us to live in the presence of Jesus – key to eternal life, to fullness of life… key to fullness of joy.

Christ loves us so much that He gave us His Church – the Sacraments – His Body and Blood to nourish and sustain us and help us persevere in our loving service of God and neighbor.

Jesus said:  “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these. (John 14:12)

Jesus said that He and the Father are one (John 10:30)…. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) …And Jesus’ life, his words and deeds were pure reflections of his Father in heaven.

And so – Just as Jesus said: “Those who has seen me has seen the Father.” …similarly – those in whom the Holy Spirit lives most fully – those who are in communion with Christ – people see Christ in them and they are not even aware of it…

They do not need to speak of it… because when the beauty of Christ is reflected in us, it speaks more effectively than the most eloquent words.

The simple point is – with the Holy Spirit as our Advocate and Helper and Guide – if we are one with Christ – if we have the mind and heart and attitude of Christ, the evidence of our union with Christ – of being Christians – is seen in our daily lives.

The real test of love is not what we feel; it is not what we say, but what we do. Love is an action, a way of living at home, at school, at work, at play, at church, or wherever we happen to be.

So – my brothers and sisters in Christ – the question to us is – Can people see Christ in us – as individuals and as a community?

Cycle A – Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 21, 2017

 

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