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6th Sunday of Easter, Year B – Homily

6th Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4 (2b)
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17
May 6, 2018

Both our second reading from the First Letter of John and our gospel reading from John each contain the word “love” nine times.  Why?

Because love is of God” and “God is love.

We can only love because we are first loved by God.  God always loves us because it is of his essence to love.  Even when we sin God still loves us and sent his Son that we might have love.

God created us out of love.

God gave his commandments because he loves us.

God allows us to suffer the consequences of our sins because he loves us.  We have to face the consequences to motivate us to change.

God sent prophets over and over again to bring his Word to the people to help them because he loves us.

Jesus comes to share his love with us.

Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”  Keeping God’s commandments begins in obedience on our part but finds a firm foundation in our recognition of God’s love for us so that we know we can trust that his commandments are good for us.

Our obedience in doing what Jesus commands shows that we trust in him as our friend.

Jesus tells us what the greatest love is.  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Jesus’ love for us is absolute.  We see this as he freely lays his life for us on the Cross.  We celebrate this act of Jesus’ love each year on Good Friday in the reading of his Passion and the veneration of the Cross but once a year is not enough.

In his love for us, Jesus gives us the means to celebrate his sacrifice on the Cross throughout the year.  It is the Eucharist.  It is the source and summit of our Catholic faith.

Baptism is the first sacrament we receive and so it is called the gateway to the sacraments.  Baptism is where we receive the gift of life but it is the Eucharist that feeds us with the Body and Blood of Christ.

The words of consecration come from Jesus’ words at the Last Supper,

“Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you…Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

We know it is Jesus’ Body and Blood because he says so.  We know it is the sacrifice of the Cross where he lays down his life for us as he speaks of his body given up for us, his blood poured out for us.

We know we are to do this over and over because Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me.”

We need to do this over and over to remember Jesus’ act of love done so that our sins are forgiven.  We also need to do it over and over as food for our soul.

We know that if we don’t eat earthly food on our regular basis, we will not live long.  The same is true for our souls.  We need to receive over and over the bread of life that is Jesus.

I spoke last week of how our kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer is a statement of our faith that the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Our kneeling is an act of homage, even more so it is our response of love to the love of Jesus giving his life and feeding us with his Body.  Likewise, we bow just before we receive the Eucharist as an act of love.

We need to feel loved.  We need to receive expressions of love.  Even when we know someone loves us, do we not feeling better when they express their love in words or in actions that show their love?  It can be as simple as a hug.

Of course, we know that God is always with us but it can be hard to be aware of God’s presence.  We come to church to help us be aware of God’s presence and love.  In the Eucharist we celebrate Jesus’ love.  In Communion we receive a hug from Jesus.

 

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