Sixth Sunday of Easter (B)

Love, love, love, love, love.  It seems that we hear this word over and over.  Bill loves Sue, Sue loves Fred, etc. Every sitcom is loaded with people who fall in and out of love. We hear about married people breaking up and we wonder where their love went.  Then we come to Church, and again we hear about love. But it is not all the same.  True love is a choice that demands sacrifice.  People who fall in and out of love have not made a choice that demands sacrifice, or at least one of them has not[1].

There is always a lot of talk about love when people are getting married.  But, sadly, some of them don’t see the Lord as the center of their love. So they want weddings with beautiful backgrounds, but not necessarily with the sacrament of marriage.  Perhaps they are not ready for true love. Perhaps they are not ready for a choice that demands sacrifice. Perhaps they really do not want Christ’s love in their marriage.  That costs too much.

The Love of Christ comes with a price. There is sacrifice that we need to make to return the Lord’s love. If we have been chosen to work for the Kingdom, and according to today’s Gospel, we have, It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit[2], and then our options are limited.  If we have put on the baptismal gown of the Lord, we cannot wear the clothes of pagans.  This is hard to accept in a society that preaches endless choices, a society that caters to infantile fantasies of no rules and no limits to life. We have to come to the realization that because we have been chosen, we have to have rules for a way of life that is truly Christian. We have to deny our infantile desires for the infinitely greater good of the Kingdom of God.

The choice of love demands that we accept limitations on our lives and even pain and suffering in order to love as Jesus loved.  Parents respond to their baby’s cries in the middle of the night.  They have no choice if they really love their child.  But that choice takes sacrifice. This is the meaning of true love. Look at your Moms and Dads.  Look at the sacrifices each makes for the other.  That is how they make love to each other.  In a true marriage, marital love is infinitely more than the physical expression of that love.
Love, the true love of Jesus, imposes limits on us. Love is sacrificial.  When we look at the cross, we realize the life that we have been chosen to lead.  We have been chosen to make Jesus’ life a reality.  And He died for others.

One last story. It is just a story, not in scripture, but it gets the point across, and it is kind of funny. It is the story of how the devil tried to sneak into heaven. The legend goes that just before dawn on Easter Sunday, the devil dressed up as the Risen Lord. He had his fallen angels accompany him, all dressed as angels of light. As he approached the gates of heaven he and his mob cried out the words of Psalm, Lift up your heads, O gates of Heaven. Rise up you ancient portals that the King of Glory might enter[3]. The real angels looked down at whom they thought was their King returning in triumph from the dead.  So they shouted back in joy the next words of that psalm, Who is the King of Glory? Then the devil then made a fatal mistake.  He opened his arms, spread his palms and declared, I am the King of Glory. He did himself in.  The angels immediately slammed shut the gates of heaven. They knew this was not the Lord…They saw that there were no marks of the nails in his palms. He had no wounds of love. He was obviously an imposter.
To put it very simply: if we have been chosen by Christ, and we have, then we have to accept His way of life, the way of limits, the way of sacrificial love

[1] 6th Sunday of Easter, May 10, 2015. Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Responsorial Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17.
[2] Cfr. John 15:16
[3] Psalm 24. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris