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Saturday, 13 May 2023 10:28

Sixth Sunday of Easter - 2023

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestWe have a belief that if you love someone, you’re willing to do everything for him or for her.

In the gospel for this Sunday, Jesus is challenging all of us that if we really love him then we must obey his commandments.

Today's gospel is a continuation of the “farewell discourse” of Jesus to his disciples. Jesus knew that without him his disciples would have no idea of how to continue the ministry that he started. He knew that without him, his disciples would be vulnerable to attacks from the Pharisees and other potential enemies of the early Church. He knew that He must continue to be present in them so that he could guide them and they could continue spreading the reign of God towards the ends of the earth. And the way that Jesus did that was to send the Holy Spirit, as the Advocate. The spirit would guide the disciples on what to say and what to do, especially in times of crisis.

I will not leave you orphans 2 twitter 550And also in the gospel Jesus is challenging all of us to show our love of Jesus by obeying his commandments. Some of us may think that pure love should come with no conditions. What others may mean is that if you love someone, then you just need to love them, no ifs and buts?

But what esus is saying is that if we love him, then we must keep his commandments. It doesn’t mean that if we don’t keep Jesus’ commandments that he doesn’t love us anymore. That is the reason why Jesus died on the cross, to show his love to everybody whether we love him in return or not. Actually, the more that we stray away from him, the more he loves us so that through his love, it may lead us to come back to him. However, if we truly love him, then we will want to obey his commandments. This is the least that we can do to show that we love Jesus.

One of my favourite passages in the Bible is the one from the prophet Isaiah, when the prophet said to King Ahaz, that the virgin shall be with child and shall name him Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us.” For me, this one of the passages that has guided my life. I’ve always believed that God is always with us and he will never leave us. That in the highs and lows of my life, I know that God is always with me. That is why another passage in the gospel of Matthew is also an inspiration, when Jesus said as he was being taken up to heaven, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world”. Jesus promised us that he will always be with us. For me the important word here is ALWAYS!

That is why in the gospel for today, Jesus promised his disciples again that he would not leave them orphans. He will be with them always through an Advocate and that is the Holy Spirit. It will be the Holy Spirit that will guide them, teach them and defend them against any attacks to them and the early Church. And the Holy Spirit is as powerful as Jesus himself, as the Spirit is also the Father and Jesus, the persons of the Holy Trinity. That is why if we read further in the Bible, particularly the Acts of the Apostles, we can see many stories of how the Holy Spirit has guided and manifested himself through the works of the followers of Jesus in the early Church.

So, we can derive two lessons from today’s gospel. First, we should be assured that Jesus definitely loves us. Jesus’ love is all-powerful. He loves all people whether we love him in return or not. However, on our part, when we love Jesus in return then we must show it by following his commandments and that is loving God and our neighbours. Second, we should be assured that Jesus is with us and continues to be with us. He will not abandon us. He did not abandon his disciples even after he left them physically. He sent the Holy Spirit to take his place to guide his disciples and Jesus continues to send the Holy Spirit not only in his Church but to all of us especially from the moment of our baptism. The Holy Spirit continues to reside in us, the only thing that we have to do is to listen to the Spirit’s promptings and we shall be guided towards eternal life.

In the gospel for today, Jesus is challenging all of us that if we really love him then we must obey his commandments.