Dear One and All
Do any of us not keep in the depth of our hearts, a nagging longing for a place called ‘home’ – a haven of peace, rest and love – a place where we can recover from life’s storms? Jesus invites us to create that kind of place in our hearts and lives in today’s Gospel … and it’s not ‘Too good to be true’ … it’s for real. He says to us, ‘I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you…..by this love you have for one another everyone will know that you are my disciples.’ In short it happens when we embrace this commandment and allow ourselves to be saturated with the love of Christ for us and all people.
We frequently make promises. Just recently for instance, we renewed our Baptismal promises at Easter and we made resolutions at New Year. We might even promise ourselves that as from today, it will be the end of eating chocolate! It puts on weight. What do we do when we have those inner cravings for sweets as we pass the shelves of lollies in the supermarket? Whether we give in, or walk on by, depends on the seriousness of the promise that we made. If we really want to carry them out we will do so, even if it’s not easy, provided that the ultimate goal was worthwhile.
In the Gospel passage today, we hear the serious invitation made by Jesus which assures us that we are all worthwhile, that we are all precious in God’s sight. In fact, as we hear in the Old Testament Isaiah 43:1b, ‘I have called you by name, you are mine.’ This acknowledgement by God of His love for us is the very basis on which Jesus makes all His promises. That basis is love … and trust. It is also the basis for all the serious promises we make in our personal relationships, in our relationship with the Church, and for the commitment that we make to love and serve one another.
These final words of Jesus to his beloved disciples causes a hush to his hearers, just like the attentiveness that we all make when we are close to someone who is about to enter eternity. At moments like this the words spoken to us by our dying loved one touches every fiber of our being and we never forget that precious moment. Jesus says that His love for his disciples is the example which they are called to live, proclaim and hence create a haven of acceptance, peace and reconciliation in this world. We can only know and love God if we really want to and if are ready for the surprises God has in store for us along the road of life. It’s only when we stop, look and listen to God’s presence that we can truly say, as the Apostles said on the Emmaus Road ‘Did not our hearts become inflamed as He broke open the Word and Broke Bread with us’.
May the new commandment given to us by Jesus, strengthen our promise to love and serve God in our brothers and sisters … and may God Bless you and your families and never let us forget each other in prayer.