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6th Sunday of Easter, Year B – Homily

6th Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17
May 10, 2015

We pick up where we left off last week, with Jesus speaking to us about remaining in His love.

What does it take to remain in His love?  We must keep His commandments.  Jesus tells us that we are His friends if we keep His commandments.  This might bring up memories of former friends who saw themselves as the center of attention and who always needed to get their way.  Friends like that are not the best of friends.

Jesus is not that type of friend.  Yes, we must follow His commandments but not out of obligation or for Jesus’ good.  Jesus doesn’t give us commandments to serve Him.  The commandments are for our own good.  When we open ourselves to following the commandments, good things happen and we realize that Jesus is motivated purely out of His love for us.

Who does Jesus love?  Is there anyone Jesus doesn’t love?

Peter speaks today of how “God shows no partiality.”  God doesn’t care where we come from or what race we are.  As proof, God sends the Holy Spirit down upon the Gentiles.

What about sinners?  After all, Jesus tells us we remain in His love if we keep His commandments.  So, God doesn’t love sinners, right?

If that were the case, then God would not have sent His Son to die for us.  Jesus dies because He loves even sinners.  God can’t help but love us.  God doesn’t just serve as an example of love.  God is love.

So why then does Jesus say we must keep His commandments if we are to remain in His love?  It’s not that God stops loving us but when we sin, we break our relationship with God and we are no longer “aware” of His love.  We are created in God’s image.  That means we are created to love.  It is in love that we find fulfillment.

Jesus wants our joy to be complete.  I want to emphasize the word “joy”.   Jesus does not say He wants us to be “happy”.  It’s hard to describe what I want to say in human words here.

I see “happy” as meaning we had a good day where nothing bad happened or maybe we got some good news or we are satisfied with things like our job, cars, family, i.e. earthly things.

I see “joy” transcending that and having its origin in God’s love and the love we have for one another.  Happiness is dependent on earthly things while joy transcends the earthly.  This means that when things “don’t go our way” we won’t be happy but even when things go bad we can know God’s love and thus a joy, a peace, that is transcendent.

For example, if you are married and your spouse becomes seriously ill, you aren’t going to be happy they are ill but you can still be joyful to have them as your spouse.

I can also think here of some people I know who lose their job just as a loved one becomes terminally ill.  They are not happy about losing their job but they see the hand of God at work in the timing of it to be able to spend extra time as their loved one dies.

What has happened in your life that you would describe as bad at the time but then led to changes for the better in your life?

We can spend a lot of time trying to make others and/or ourselves “happy”.  What we really need to be looking for is what makes us feel fulfilled.

I liked being an engineer but it wasn’t fulfilling for me.  Life is more than the jobs we do.  Fulfillment is about what we are created for, to love.  For many this comes in marriage and a family while having a job where we work to be the best person we can be.  For me, I find fulfillment in being a priest.

Do you feel fulfilled?  If not, why not?  Maybe you need a different job.  Maybe you just need to shift priorities to put God first and your family above earthly things.  Put God first and God is love.

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