If there’s anything that this pandemic has taught us, it is about how we build family relationships stronger on account of having more time with them, especially during the initial days of the quarantine. For those families in their homes, their bonds should become stronger, unless everyone is also spending more time with their gadgets. Meals should be for dining and engaging in lively conversations. Devices should be left out of the dinner table.
Loving another means respecting that person and doing what makes him happy. Love for our parents and friends demand a sort of conformance to the norms and rules they share with us.We do it because we don’t want to hurt them due to our disrespect. That’s why we have a natural tendency to stay close to people who share the same values and principles as we are. We do it because we want them to feel important in our life, much as we are valuable to them. We do it because we want to honor them with our actions.
Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, says this love “need not be expressed in big and grand ways. Many of us want to be frontliners; we want to volunteer big time. Yet, life is simple, like cooking food, washing laundry, warming the car, sweeping the floor, putting the baby to sleep, helping in the kitchen; the little things. For most, it may be as simple as staying at home.”
St. Peter encourages us in the Second Reading (1 Pt. 3: 15-18),
“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.”
When we have the capacity to love others, it goes without saying that we do it because we love God, who is invisible. Loving others is a consequence of our ability to love the Divine Providence. Naturally, when we love, we also pray and hope the best for them. The time we spend for prayer and reflection must surely improve during this period. With anxieties and worries abounding, only prayer can make us relax and stay calm. The words and messages of the Scriptures and the homilies we hear during online Masses are reassuring to both the heart and the spirit. It is time we give more attention for God, and therefore hopefully more love for Him.
In today’s Gospel (Jn. 14: 15-21), we get to hear the Lord continue talking about love,
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows Him.”
The Lord Jesus emphasized this when He said,
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Obedience to Christ shouldn’t be done out of fear but out of love and sovereign respect for God. We take that attitude of obeying God because we dread the idea of offending Him by sin and wrongdoing. It is the fear that makes us detach ourselves from worldly pleasures knowing that it could separate us from the love of God.
While we try to love God, we can never, never exceed His faithful love for us. In fact, the Sacred Scriptures reiterated this the past week, when the readings revolved around the Last Supper Discourse in Chapter 14 and the exhortations of Chapter 15 of St. John’s Gospel. Truly, while the disciples were aptly feeling sad at that time, these are also inspiring passages and surely timeless in warmth and appeal. It communicates how God loves us despite who we are. Thus, this demands a noble response to love Him back.
On this Sixth Sunday of Easter, Jesus speaks of asking the Father to send another Advocate to be with us always. As we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit, let us reflect on Christ’s promise made to His Apostles. As one of His countless followers, you have the ability to receive that promise as well.
“Whoever loves Me will keep My word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and We will come to him. through me.” (Jn. 14: 23)