Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 30, 35, 44-48; 1John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17
With Mothers’ Day coming next weekend, the readings help us to focus attention on God's universal love, expressed in Jesus Christ as our model for loving others as God has loved us. But for a moment let us focus on what a mother has in common with God. A mother goes long ways to ensure the security of her children and in fact even to risk her own life to save her children. There is a true story of a mom who was walking with her two-year-old daughter, when she suddenly made a quick decision to cross the train tracks, even after the warning bars had descended and the lights were flashing. Suddenly, the stroller was stuck and in her panic managed to push her daughter free, but she could not free herself and was hit by the train and died instantly.
There could be no better words than those of Jesus in the Gospel that invite us to love one another. The focus is on our relationship to others in the same way that God in Christ relates to us. "As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” Just as a mother’s love is not about a feeling, but real love, so too God loves us with real love, and asks us to extend that same love to others. The mom in the story risked her life to the point of death. God in Christ does the same for us in Christ who risks His life to save us from our sins. When Jesus commands us to “love one another, as I have loved you", He challenges us to be prepared even to die for others. We are invited here to reflect on the example of Christ who has loved us to the point of suffering and death on the cross for us. The ultimate expression of Jesus' love for us is the cross - the "greater love" which emanates from the Father. "Greater love than this no one has". For a mother to love her child is natural. To love others as Jesus did is indeed a far greater challenge for us. Jesus loves all without exception, without discrimination, without preference. He loves all to the point of death, death on the cross. To love others to the point of death is to be prepared to risk one's life for others; to give up one’s comfort for the sake of others; to detach oneself, and in all humility to empty oneself of pride, so we may become totally for others. This example of Jesus leads us to die to self so that others may have life in its fullness. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) The readings challenge us to love all people without exception just as Jesus does; 2) Like the mom in the story, we too must be prepared to lay down our lives; to risk for others; to speak on behalf of the poor; on behalf of those debt burdened, even when that might mean risking our lives, out of a greater love for others. 3) The only way we know that we remain in the love of Jesus is by loving others as Jesus has loved us to the point of dying on the cross for us. Think about it!
©2018 John S. Mbinda