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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 9, 2021

Peter is led by God to the house of Cornelius.  There Cornelius falls “at his feet” to pay homage to Peter.  Peter does not accept the homage for he knows he is “also a human being.”  Peter knows that “homage” belongs to God alone.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with “honoring” people for the good things they do.  For instance, to venerate the saints is to honor the example they are for us.

Today our nation gives honor to a category of people, our mothers.  We honor our mothers for the good they do for us.  We thank God for our mothers.  We thank our mothers for putting up with us when we didn’t always do what we should.

God “puts up” with us when we don’t do as we should.  “God shows no partiality.”  God offers his love to everyone. 

The Jews thought they were a chosen race.  They were in the sense that God had called them to a particular role.  However, they were not supposed to be an exclusive race.  Peter has come to know this in the way he saw the Holy Spirit “poured out on the Gentiles.”  Thus, led by the Holy Spirit, Peter baptizes Cornelius and his household. 

The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.”

Salvation comes in a new way through Jesus but God had always been rescuing his people.  He rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  He sent the Israelites free from exile in Babylon.  He offers us salvation, setting us free from our sins.

Why?

Because love is of God.

It is God’s nature to love.  He reveals his love to us in “his saving power.”  We see his love revealed in a new way when He “sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.

It is God’s nature to love and He created us to love.  We love because we are first loved by God.

Love can be contagious.  “Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you’.

We are to take the love we receive and share it.  Ideally, mothers (as well as fathers) do this.

Jesus wants us to know his love.  It is what makes us complete.

What does it mean to love?

Love is more than a warm fuzzy feeling.  Love may lead us to “unpleasant” tasks like a mother changing a diaper for her baby.  I doubt anyone enjoys changing a diaper as a physical act but one willing does it in love.

Jesus tells us, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Jesus doesn’t just tell us this.  He demonstrates it to us as He gives his life for us on the Cross.  He does this because He loves us.

What is our response to Jesus’ love?

Is it obedience that is not just a legal obedience?  Or are we obedient because we are afraid of Hell?

Or are we obedient because we trust in God’s love?

Do we want to remain in his love?

Jesus tells us, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.

This is not a condition of God’s love.  God will always love us no matter what.  However, we separate ourselves from that love when we choose to go our own way.

Think of the little child who is totally dependent on mom and dad.  The child trusts mom and dad because mom and dad have always been there for the child.  Why are mom and dad there?  Because they love their child. 

As little children, when we experience fear, we count on our parents.  We are “obedient” because of our trust in them.

Then we grow up.

We become independent.  We think we know better and we go and do our own thing.  We might even become disobedient.  We may become “disobedient” because we think we no longer need our parents.

The same can be true for us as children of God.  If we are taught about God’s love, we trust that God loves us.  In that trust, we listen to what God teaches us.

As we grow up, we become independent.  We still want to know that God is with us just as we don’t “abandon” our parents. 

We begin to make choices for ourselves.  We think we know what is good for us.  Hopefully we have learned what is good.  Who determines what is good?

God’s commandments tell us what is good.  Yet, sometimes we think we know better.  We become disobedient.  We sin.

In choosing to commit venial sin, we hurt our relationship with God.  In choosing to commit mortal sin, we break our relationship with God.  It is not God who breaks the relationship.  It is us.

The good news is God does not stop loving us.  That’s why God makes repentance possible.  It is why Jesus laid down his life for us on the Cross, to heal our brokenness.

Jesus says to us, “It was not you who chose me, but I who choose you.

Jesus chooses to love us.  Do we choose to love him in response?

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