Friday 13 February 2015

5th Sunday of Easter Year B

What do we mean when we say we love? Do we really love others? Do we love our brothers and sisters? Do we show our Christian faith by living a life of love in our families, BEC, community, housing area, and at church? Besides people in our Christian community, do we also show love towards others who are not Christians? It is easy to say we love, but do we mean what we say by our actions, or are our words nothing more than mere words? St. John in today’s second reading reminds us: “Our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active."

Yet we cannot genuinely and truly love others unless we are rooted in Christ. Today's gospel reminds us that Christ is the Vine and we are the branches, and “whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.” It would be not possible for us to love unconditionally, genuinely and wholesomely on our own, since we can only love in such ways if we are rooted in God's love.

There are some who think that they can love without God, but more often than not, such love would merely be an ineffective or inadequate attempt. We come across friendships, relationships and marriages that end up failing or breaking down because of the absence of God in our love and in our lives. This is because the kind of love that we humanly profess is imperfect, we love because we expect to receive love or something else in return. Genuine love is when we are able to love totally, without expecting anything in return. Could we ever accomplish such genuine love on our own? No. Only God is able to love totally, and we can only love the way God loves us when we are connected and rooted to Him.

Love does not mean we will be living in some sort of utopia or some fantasy place, where there is no conflict or problems. Love does not mean that others will like us or appreciate our love. Take for example St. Paul in today's first reading. In the first reading, Paul, then known as Saul, went around with the disciples, "preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord." Not everyone was happy with him and some even tried to kill him, but because he was rooted in Christ and had experienced God's love, he was willing to endure challenges and hardships to bring the Good News of God's love to all. Love does not mean we must become popular, rather it means we must do what is right, what is true, what is just, and what is loving, even if it means we would become unpopular or not liked.

Today, some of us may be experiencing difficulties and trials as we try to show our love towards others. But as Jesus reminds us: "every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more." We are being pruned, so that we will grow and remain closer to Jesus. In this way, we would become stronger and be better witnesses of God's love to all.

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