The theme, today, for the second reading and the Gospel is readily apparent, that of love. The question is exactly what kind of love are we talking about here. The answer to this question is found in the middle of the Gospel when Jesus says that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for their friends. The very next words that Jesus says are, “You are my friends.” So here is Jesus defining what the greatest expression of love is, dying for ones friends and then tells the apostles that they are His friends. Sounds to me like He is trying to tell them something here.
When Jesus went to the cross He was demonstrating the kind of love that He is talking about in today’s Gospel. A kind of love that is an outpouring of one for the other, a giving of one’s self, sacrificially, for the beloved. It was the intent of God to give us His beloved Son so that we also may become His adopted sons and daughters, no longer to be called mere creatures of God but to be His beloved sons and daughters through the work of Christ.
Now the extension of that love that Jesus demonstrated for us on the cross is here with us today in the Sacraments. Saturday we had the sacrament of First Holy Communion here for our second grade students from the school and religious education classes. As Monsignor was preaching He made a very good point of letting the children know that they will be getting a new best friend, this day, and His name is Jesus. He also made the connection of the Sacrament that they received that day to their Baptism. These Sacraments give us the graces that we need to carry out our mission of sacrificial love to the world. It is important, especially in the times that we live in today, with the secular world preaching the exact opposite of what is morally right, that we understand the special calling that we, as Christians, as Catholics have. When I perform baptisms, I like to point out that the children are especially chosen to be baptized into His Church. As Jesus chose the Apostles to be His friends, so now God has chosen those Children to be His in a special way. All the baptized are chosen people of God, we were baptized and brought up in the faith receiving the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist, to give us the graces to live our lives as we are called to live it. We are all called to that form of love that is talked about in the readings today. That kind of sacrificial sharing of ourselves with others. We are not called to the selfish, ME ME ME of the secular world, we are called to the love and care of one another.
Your servant in Christ,