Sunday, May 5, 2024

Reflection: 6th Sunday of Easter Year B - Love is Not Love, God IS Love

Reflecting on the Readings for May 5, 2024: A Journey of Faith and Love

The readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter in the Year B Catholic Lectionary offer a profound exploration of faith, love, and the inclusivity of God's message. The first reading from Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 presents a pivotal moment where Peter acknowledges that God shows no partiality, affirming that the gift of the Holy Spirit is available to all, Jew and Gentile alike. This passage highlights the universality of God's love and the breaking down of barriers that once separated people.

The Responsorial Psalm, Ps 98, echoes this theme of universal salvation with a call to "sing to the LORD a new song" for the wondrous deeds He has performed, making His victory known to the nations. It is a psalm of joy and praise, recognizing God's faithfulness and justice.

In the second reading, 1 John 4:7-10, the apostle John encapsulates the essence of Christian life in the commandment to love one another. This love is not a human invention but originates from God, who is love. The passage reminds us that it is through love that we know God, and it is through His love that we are given life.

The Gospel reading from John 15:9-17 deepens this message, as Jesus invites His disciples to remain in His love and to love one another as He has loved them. The ultimate expression of love, Jesus teaches, is to lay down one's life for one's friends, a foreshadowing of His own sacrifice on the cross.

These readings collectively call the faithful to reflect on the expansive nature of God's love and the call to live out that love in our relationships with others. They challenge us to consider how we can break down barriers and extend the love and grace we have received to everyone we encounter, regardless of their background or beliefs.  God loves everyone, even the worst of sinners.

Today, love is often misconstrued and misguided. Since 2015 we have heard the cliche "Love is Love" from advocates of so-called "same-sex marriage." This phrase is meant to convey that love works on carte blanche. There are no rules or restrictions. You can love anyone you want, whenever you want and in any circumstnace.  This brings huge problems. It allows all kinds of perversions to be equated with "love."  There would be no restriction or limits. Those who claim to love animals or young children in a eros or romantic manner feel validated in their perverted take on relationships. 

The truth is that God is love. Love is pure. It does have limits and restrictions on how it is expressed, to whom and in what circumstance. The love between family members is not the same expression of love as the love among a boyfriend or girlfriend; the love between a married couple is not the same as the expression of love between friends. This is why "Love is Love" is illogical and dangerous.  Not because love is wrong or loving is wrong, but because it ignores the limits, boundaries and restrictions warranted in different situations and with differ persons. 

Love is of God. God is love!  This is why when we help others, do good, feed the poor or given them money, we feel this warmth in us, this immense joy. It is not taught to us. It is not programmed into us by schools, nannies or parents. This is God in us showing love to us through us.  The sensation is constagious and wipes away sorrows and paoins.  This is because God is Love.  Love is the most powerful force in the universe.  Unfortunately, we are failing to express it to one another and to God. This is why we see so many evils in the world and the constant conflics in the Middle East and elsewhere.   

As we ponder these readings, we are invited to ask ourselves how we can better embody the love of God in our daily lives. How can we show love to those who are different from us? How can we be instruments of unity and peace in a world often divided by prejudice and fear?

The message for May 5, 2024, is clear: love is the cornerstone of our faith and the most powerful testimony we can give of the God we serve. Let us then be inspired by these readings to renew our commitment to love as Jesus loved, fully, sacrificially, and unconditionally.


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