Thursday, May 07, 2015
5th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 15:7-21
Gospel: John 15:9-11
Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
“I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Love is sweeter when spontaneous. Try exacting gratitude from a child for a toy you have given and see if you feel any love from his cold “thank you”. It will be a lot different if upon receipt of your gift he spontaneously puts aside this dream toy and comes running to embrace you with the magic words “thank you” as he locks you up in his innocent embrace. Love is at its best when not extracted forcibly with a command. Why then did Jesus command us to love one another?
In his first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (God is love), Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI clarified that the love commandment is not really a commandment in the strict sense of the word but a response. Love is our sweet response to the initiative of God who made the first move to love us (1 John 4:10). “It is no longer a mere command,” he wrote. “It is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us”. Thus although we have denominated charity as a love commandment, it is not a commandment in the strict sense of the word because we have committed ourselves to it as a way of responding to God’s love for us.
When this love ripens to love of neighbor our response becomes perfectly pleasing to God. This ripening is the most credible test of the quality of our response to God’s love. It is also a determinant of how we have matured as an Ecclesial community. In the same encyclical the Pope Emeritus wrote that ‘love of neighbor, grounded in the love of God, is first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level”.
In this way, our love of God becomes essentially concrete and yet truly spiritual in nature. It is spiritual because it is rooted in God both as source and end of our love for others. It is concrete because as it ripens into love of neighbor it drives us to action for the welfare of our brothers and sisters. These two dimensions must go together. If love lacks concreteness, it is lip service. On the other hand, if love lacks spiritual dimension, it is purely humanitarian – something which even people who do not believe in God do best.
Love of God becomes truly a spontaneous response to God’s first initiative if it ripens into love of neighbor. Short of this ripening, our love borders on the mechanical and is hardly pleasing to the Lord. -Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY: God our Father, send us your Spirit to be the fire that sustains us in loving one another, and so deepen our love for you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: Today is the Feast of St. Domitian, Bishop. He lived during the sixth Century and he was a holy and hard-working missionary. He worked zealously to help the poor and in spite of strong resistance he was able to seek the help of the rich in sharing their wealth with the less fortunate of God’s flock during a famine. He came from Gaul in France, became a bishop of the diocese of Maastricht in the Netherlands, and successfully brought many of his countrymen on the Meuse Valley to Christianity. He died in 560 and his relics are venerated in Huy, Belgium