Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 6, 2018)

Today’s Scripture readings call us to embrace the great reality: God is love.

God has loved us eternally. Even when the human family chose to reject God’s love and sinned, God’s eternal love for us sent his Son Jesus among us as expiation for our sins. God’s love does not change; God doesn’t love us because we love him.

Jesus reminds us of this wonderful news in the gospel today: “You are slaves no longer. I call you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” Through of our baptism into Jesus’ saving death and resurrection, you and I share in the life and love of God. Jesus has made it possible for us to love one another as he has loved us. Through the grace of faith, you and I are begotten of God and know God. God gives us the ability to love and he desires us to use that ability for the good of one another.

God makes his enduring love surprisingly evident in today’s first reading. When Peter enters the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, the Holy Spirit is poured out on this pagan family even before they are baptized. Peter is shocked that non-Jews are speaking in tongues, but he accepts the wonder of God’s love working in these foreigners and baptizes them in the name of Jesus. Peter is forced to acknowledge that God shows no partiality in loving. That will become the practice of the Church community.

We are to love all as Jesus has loved all. There can be no strangers or aliens in our community. We must be open to the many ways that God’s love will manifest itself among us. Sometimes the working of God’s love will surprise us, as it did Peter. Since God’s love is always present among us, we may experience it through the least likely people and situations.

You and I are often the unsuspecting channel of God’s love for people who least expect it from us. When we learn to accept the great mystery of God’s eternal love for each of us, when we make the time each day to allow God’s love to reach deeply within us, when we decide to expect to find God’s love in each person we meet during the day, then we will find ourselves experiencing the great transformation that Jesus has come to make in us. We will learn to treasure being Jesus’ friend and try to be friend to everyone we meet. We will be mindful of St. John’s words: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that God has loved us.” It is not that others have loved me first; rather, I have loved them. This is how Jesus has loved us. It is the way that he asks us to love one another.

May our God be praised in our efforts to love!