6th Sunday of Easter
Love Knows No Boundaries
A few years ago, while I was working as pastor of one of the outline county parishes in the diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, I was struck by the simple act of genuine love of one of my parishioners above the age of 80 who was suffering from prostate cancer. Oscar was his name; a well-educated man who had two children who became successful medical doctors. His wife Ruby was in the nursing home for a long time as she was paralyzed and then later developed Alzheimer’s disease. She no longer knew who Oscar was and had not recognized him for the past five years now. But every day, Oscar used to drive 12 miles one way to meet his wife Ruby to take care of her immediate needs, spend time with her, and feed her breakfast with his own hands. Then he returns home and takes care of his works. He was paying to the nursing home for the total care of his wife, but he enjoyed doing what he did as part of his commitment to his wife as a husband, an act of love without boundaries. True love is beyond physical and romantic attraction. It is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. In today’s Gospel, Jesus commands us to practice this type of sacrificial and selfless agápe love as he practiced it.
The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (10: 25-48) tells that God shows no partiality, and there are no boundaries in His love. God loves everyone, both the Jews and the Gentiles, and He wants everyone to be saved through His son, Jesus. That is why God welcomed the Roman centurion Cornelius as the first non-Jew to become a Christian. He allowed the Gentiles who heard Peter’s speech to receive the same Holy Spirit. In the second reading, John (4:7-10) defines God as love and explains that He expressed His love for humanity by sending His son to die for us “as expiation for our sins.” The divine love invites us today to love one another as God loves us.
Love is the central theme of today’s Gospel (John 15:9-17). This particular passage comes from the middle of Jesus’ so-called “Farewell Discourse.” It is the heart-to-heart “table-talk” of Jesus with his disciples after the Supper. He teaches us that we are to obey his commandment of love just as He has obeyed his Heavenly Father’s commandments and remained inseparably bonded with Him. His unconditional, forgiving, selfless, sacrificial love for us must be the model of our love for others. The highest expression of this love is our willingness to lay down our lives as Jesus did for people who don’t deserve it. The goal and result of our abiding love will be a state of perfect joy and spiritual nourishment. Jesus no longer calls us slaves but friends. He reminds us that we have not chosen him, but he has chosen us in love-to-love one another.
The essential qualities we expect from our friends are trust, mutuality, faithfulness, equality, forgiveness, joy, and sacrifice. Jesus offers us all these qualities in our friendship with him. As a friend, He has trusted us by sharing everything that he has heard from his Father; hence, we have to trust him as a friend by listening to him through the Bible and talking to him by prayer. As a friend, he will always be faithful to us, and we need to be faithful to him in doing His will. As a true friend, He makes us equal to him and lets us be grateful to him for this unique status. As an understanding friend, He is ready to forgive us so let us also forgive those who offend us. Like a faithful friend, He has told us everything so that our joy might be complete in him. Above all, Jesus declared that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend. He has done it for us; hence, let us also love others sacrificially. We need to cultivate an abiding and loving friendship with Jesus and express it in our relationships with others by loving them and showing them trust, faithfulness, equality, forgiveness, joy, and sacrifice.
Christ’s love was always other-centered, and He loves us all without boundaries. People who translate that love of Christ are our mothers. They love us s love us constantly without boundaries. They don’t look for our color, creed, status, abilities, qualities, smartness, education, wealth, and health. We honor all the mothers all over the world today as icons of love, understanding, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. All mothers love their children beyond boundaries. Let us honor and admire them for their faithful love and commitment. Let us pray for all mothers whether they are alive or deceased. Let us keep the flames of Christ’s love lived out by our mother’s love in our own daily life and keep the flame of love alive in all human hearts irrespective of any differences around us. Have a blessed weekend.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Our Beloved Mothers!
Fr. Tomy J. Puliyan, MSFS