May 9: Sixth Sunday of Easter. Readings: 1. Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48; Psalm 98; 2. 1 John 4:7-10; Gospel: John 15:9-17.
Once again, we have an extraordinary set of readings that bear witness to our Easter faith. For each, in its own way, communicates an early awareness of being a people lovingly saved by our God.
The testimony of the verses from Acts makes Peter the central character. It is his speech that brings in new followers, outsiders known as Gentiles. Peter announces what the Holy Spirit has made known in those days. Both Jew and Gentile, therefore, became legitimate recipients of the early Church’s preaching, which is a message announced for all listeners. Welcoming newcomers of all sorts establishes the norm for spreading Easter faith everywhere. This worldwide campaign is clearly a work overseen by the Holy Spirit.
In John’s first letter, God is the main character. And here its principal statement “God is love” is a major faith declaration. For it is emphasising the active part God is to play in our lives as a consequence of sending his Son to our rescue. What we therefore celebrate in faith, at this time, is the remembrance of a love beyond compare.
Jesus’ words, according to the evangelist John, invite us to a deeper appreciation for the sacred mystery of love revealed to us by God the Father through his Son. Interestingly, Jesus speaks of this love in terms of friendship. This is, therefore, a very special kind of love, one that binds people together in a way that is both intimate and outward-looking. This is by no means ordinary love or friendship. It is a love of mutual responsibility.
With readings like these, we learn that the faith is a strong force within oneself and the Church community. The Easter festivity over these weeks of the year is therefore a powerful reminder of the love shown to us in and through God’s eternal plan.