Sunday, May 17, 2009
Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter
(Scripture readings for this weekend's liturgy)
It’s embarrassing when it happens,
but have you ever had someone tell you,
“Hey, look - it’s not all about you!”
That might be a good subtitle for today’s scriptures:
“It’s not all about you…”
Or as St. John put it,
“In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that God has loved us…”
God is not our idea: we are God’s idea.
God is not someone we choose, or not, to invite into our lives:
it’s God who invites us into his life.
The love about which Christians speak
is so much more than a feeling, a sentiment, an emotion.
The love about which we speak is the LAW Christ gave us.
Jesus doesn’t “suggest” that we love one another, he commands it!
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
And if we’re not sure just what he might mean by that,
the next verse makes it very clear,
“No one has greater love than this
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
There’s a dangerous notion of love abroad today
which would have us believe that loving others
means accepting them without qualification,
without judgment of their ideas or behavior.
Of course, if we actually lived that way, we would see:
commerce wither and die,
art become a twisted caricature of itself,
law redefined as a tool of self-indulgence,
faith silenced if not outlawed,
personal communication reduced to text messages,
and society imploded into a heap of human rubble.
Such just might be our future if we think “it’s all about us.”
It’s not all about me.
It’s not all about my family, my schedule, my convenience.
It’s not all about my pleasure, my fulfillment, my needs.
It’s not all about my politics, my ideas, my finances.
It’s not all about my nation, my town, my neighborhood.
For the Christian, it’s all about others,
putting our neighbors and our neighbors’ needs before our own.
The love of which Christians speak
cannot be accepting of whatever comes along
nor can it let some things pass without critique and judgment,
because this love cannot be accepting of or fail to correct:
injustice loaded on the backs of the poor,
abuse inflicted on the innocent,
war waged for politics and power,
truth twisted beyond recognition,
life reduced to personal comfort and choice,
or hunger and homelessness tolerated
by those who have more than they need.
Christian love makes serious demands
on those bold enough to profess it.
Christ commands us to love one another as he has loved us
and if we’re not clear on how he has loved us…
well, that’s why we worship in the shadow of the Cross,
lest we forget the kind of love we celebrate and profess here.
It’s true that Jesus gave his life for sinners
(that would be us)
but he did so not in acceptance of our failures
but in judgment of them,
a judgment that makes of his self-giving
a sacrifice and a wisdom that we might:
recognize our sins against love,
understand that “it’s not all about us…”
and learn to put others before ourselves
as Christ put us before himself.
In the sacrament of this table we share in the love of Jesus
and we are nourished by the life he laid down for us, his friends,
by the love he commands us to have for one another.
May the Communion we share in the Lord remind us,
“It’s not all about us…”
Posted by Austin Fleming at 10:30 AM