Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year B

God’s Universal Love and Salvation for all

Readings: 1st: Acts 10:25-26. 34-48; Ps: 97:1-4; 2nd: 1Jn 4:7-10; Gos: Jn 15:9-17

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we celebrate our Lord, whose love is universal. He has no favorite. Instead, he freely communicates his love and spirit to all who accept him. The fullness of this love is expressed in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

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Our first reading is an account of Cornelius and his family’s conversion and how they received the Holy Spirit. As Peter described it, this shows that “God does not have any favorites.” In order words, God’s salvation and love are universal. He wants everyone who sincerely believes in him to be saved and participate in him through the Holy Spirit.

While reflecting on the readings of this Sunday, I recalled the song which says: “Jesus’ love is so wonderful, so wide you cannot get out of it, so high you cannot get over it, so deep you cannot get under it…” Simply put, God’s love does not discriminate.

Both the second reading and today’s gospel from John remind us how much Christ himself loved us. They exalt us to remain in this love, and of course, to love one another as Christ loved us. Being created in the image of God, we must exhibit this love. When we love, we are genuinely being and acting like God. When we love sincerely, we testify that the spirit of God dwells in us.

Today’s gospel is a command to love: “What I command you is to love one another.” As a command, it means that we do not have any option than to love one another. The reason is simple. We are products of love. This love flows from God to Christ and from Christ to us.

It also flows from God to our parents and from our parents to us. This is why Christ tells us today: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” So, we have no reason not to extend it to others. We are to continue the chain.

The love we are talking about here goes beyond mere emotion or sentiments. It is a “sacrificial love.” Intense emotion and feelings may accompany it, but they are not in themselves love. They are simply modes of expressing love.

It is the commitment of the will that keeps sacrificial love steadfast and unchanging. That is, the will to endure or persevere. This is the mark of a good and faithful Christian love. Hence, sacrificial love must be patient. It shows forbearance even under provocation. It is steadfast despite opposition and difficulties.

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Sacrificial love is sympathetic, considerate, gentle, and kind. This love is not jealous. It works for the good of the other. This love is not arrogant, even when we think we are right and others are wrong. Sacrificial love is not selfish. Instead, it is an act of the will that seeks to serve and not be served.

Sacrificial love is a strong commitment to help and appreciate others unconditionally. It is always ready to give rather than to receive. Sacrificial love rejoices with the truth and never fails. It is that love that fears no accusation. As we celebrate and obey this excellent command to love, let us give thanks to God, who “has shown his salvation to the nations.” Alleluia.

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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