Homily – Fr. Alan Gilmore – Sixth Sunday of Easter – Love is God and our vocation

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SIXTH  SUNDAY OF EASTER (B)
Dear Brothers, Today the 6th Sunday of Easter is also Mother’s Day. In this Mass let us remember all our living and deceased Mothers, Grandmothers and Stepmothers, all Mothers.
There is a Jewish proverb that goes:” God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers”. Kalil Gibran, the Muslim poet, called the word “mother’ the most beautiful word in our language.
Have you ever met someone who told you bluntly that they did not believe in love?  Many professional people, social workers, prison chaplains, teachers in high-school and college meet such people all the time.  People who do not believe in love often have a sad  history behind them.
It  may be a broken home, unloving parents, unfaithful friends, the list is long.  Where love was expected,  rejection was received.  The sad  result is that entirely negative outlook of a lonesome,  unhappy and joyless person.
Today’s liturgy deals with love of God and fellow men and women.  God loves us but it does not make sense even to mention this to someone who does not believe in love at all.  Love is some- thing that must first be learned and experienced from early infancy.  It must be developed and fostered,  first on the human level; only then can it be given its religious dimension of God and (because of God) the neighbor.  It’s so important that all of us who must be witnesses of Christianity make outsiders first  believe in our love on the human  level.  Only then can they believe in God’s love.
In today’s reading from Acts we learn that God’s Spirit of love came down on a Gentile, non-Jew, even before he was Baptized. Why does Luke narrate this tradition? He wants to teach first
that, authorized by Peter, Christianity should be preached to all without imposing the laws of the
Jewish faith upon them, and secondly, that the Spirit can take an initiate whenever the Spirit wishes. Faith in Jesus Christ sealed by Baptism,  is the way to salvation for all who are called. It does not mean that God is unable to bestow salvation outside the framework of organized Christianity.  God’s salvific will is universal!
God’s will that all be saved  follows the definition of God given by the author of John in our second reading, where he states: “God is love.”    Jesus once told his disciples “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect!” (Mt 5;48) They, and
,for centuries, many have been puzzled by this. Perfect as God!  (“Holy”) At least on two occasions, Jesus said to his disciples: “With God, all things are possible!” As we heard in the Gospel on Thursday,  Jesus said to  his followers: ”Just as the Father has loved me, so I  have loved you”.  And again,  we hear today, “Love one another just as I have loved you”. Jesus has suffered and died that he might gain for us the Spirit of Love that we may love like that.. We are then, to love one another with the same love that the Father loves the Son. That is our ‘vocation’. That is to “be perfect”, holy.
While  preparing this homily I came across the following quotation from the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. (Quote) “Love (Charity) is the soul of the holiness to which all are called. It governs, shapes and perfects all the means of sanctification….Love in fact is the vocation which includes all others.  It’s a universe of its own, comprising all time and space.I t’s ETERNAL.”
(End quote) Yes, LOVE – is GOD, the vocation of the children – of God and their Mother Mary!
(Acts 10; 25-26, 34-35, 44-48. 1 John 4: 7-10. John 15: 9-17    Fr  ALAN   Abbey of  Gethsemani