Throughout the Easter Season we have been nourished with all the accounts of the appearances of the Risen Jesus. Today our Gospel begins to open for us the meaning of his victory over death: LOVE. But what is love? John Denver and Placido Domingo take a stab at its meaning in their duet, “Perhaps Love.”
Perhaps love is like a resting place Oh love to some is like a cloud
A shelter from the storm To some as strong as steel
It exists to give you comfort For some a way of living
It is there to keep you warm For some a way to feel
And in those times of trouble And some say love is holding on
When you are most alone And some say letting go
The memory of love will bring you home. And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know.
We are invited into the tender love of the Lord with his disciples. The same love as the love of the Father for Jesus is opened to us on this 6th Sunday of Easter. And isn’t this the single source of our joy? (15:11) Jesus speaks about all of his relationships using a word so familiar to us: friendship. Being a follower of Jesus, the Gospel tells us, is being his friend. Friend, not servant.
We understand what it means to be a servant. You do something because you get an order to do it. But this doing isn’t the same as acting because you share the Master’s thoughts (15:15). Friendship comes from within our hearts, not from outside of us. Friendship that is real presupposes true communication and love. It implies a sharing that creates an equality – not a servant but a friend, Jesus says. Love makes equals, doesn’t it? All our world’s systems of domination and servitude fall apart. And our personal systems of domination are destroyed, too.
Today’s readings underline again that for us superiority, or considering any other person inferior to ourselves will only keep us from living and sharing the Word of God. We hear this today in Acts (10:26) and we know from years of striving to serve the poor and oppressed.
“Just as our first sisters had a preference for the disadvantaged, we too give priority to service among the poor...” (Identity Statement) As we serve them we eventually become their friends. Only in friendship can we ABIDE IN LOVE.
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