Sunday, 17 May 2020

Help to Love, 6th Sunday of Easter Year A

Jn 14:15-21
This week I’ve had the growing sensation that I’m faced with a series of things that are too big for me to do,
and yet, they are things that I obviously AM being asked to do, that GOD was therefore asking of me:
figure out how to pack and travel; write not one but 3 completely new courses; and MORE!
Then, when I heard today’s Gospel, I remembered HOW I’m supposed to face them.
Because in today's Gospel we are both asked to do something seemingly beyond us,
and, given the promise that makes it possible.

Today’s Gospel gave us part of the account of the Lord’s ‘last request’, His ‘last will and testament’, so to speak. These are the words He said at the Last Supper:
He was going off to die for love of us.
And what does He ask of us? What is His ‘last request’? He says, 'If you love me, keep my commandments"
And, though we don't have the text today, He sums up His commandments very simply:
"Love one another, as I have loved you".
And then, at that very moment when He asked us to keep His commandments, WITH THIS request, He promised to send the Holy Spirit, "the helper".

So, this is the point I want to make to you today:
God asks great things of us, He asks difficult things of us,
He asks difficult things like commanding us to love,
BUT He never fails to give us the capacity to do them,
and the clearest sign of this is His promise to give us His Holy Spirit.
The command to love is a thing simply said,
but living it out involves many DIFFICULT challenges.
Living love amidst the lockdown has been a real challenge for many of us:
to be patient, amidst the boredom;
to think of others in love, when we can easily think of just ourselves in fear;
to remember to pray for other -to do that GOOD for them, when there is little around me to physically remind me for them.

How we are called to love others is often expressed in small and unexciting details,
but it’s how we behave in such details that shows our love.
I feel I have some BIG challenges coming up,
but it’s how I behave in the LITTLE challenges that determines what I am.
And love is tough.
Can I do it alone? By my own power?
But I can WITH HIM. With HIS power. With the Holy Spirit He Promised to send me.

So, to sum up:
Maybe the tedious, small details of living in the lockdown has seemed too much for you this week.
Or, maybe, the weight of a crisis or problem has seemed too much, and you quake in FEAR about whether you can cope.
Well, Alone, we cannot. But with Him, we can.
And remember: It's His last request. He asks us to love, and to do all the small and big things that are part of that love.
He asks much, but it is possible, because He promises EVEN MORE than He asks. He promises not a thing outside Himself, not something less than God, but His very Spirit.

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