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Sixth Sunday of Easter

   “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” Jn. 15:9         


Let’s face it. Humans become ecstatic over love stories. We can’t get enough of them.

Pride and Prejudice, for example, consistently appears at the top of lists of “most loved books” among literary scholars and the reading public.
Even more, this novel ranks as one of the most popular in the entirety of English literature.

Some twenty million copies have been sold, and “for more than a century, dramatic adaptations, reprints, films, and TV versions have portrayed the memorable characters and themes of the novel, reaching mass audiences.”


The reason seems to be that there’s a certain kind of magic about love stories, a sense of fairy-tale enchantment about them that fires our imaginations.

Because of that, countless love songs have been composed, poems written, dramas acted out, movies filmed, books published – all based on the deep and unending longing to experience being loved, cherished, prized, exquisitely valued by someone – and then carried off into rapturous moments of delight.

Or, as someone as expressive as the great poet Elizabeth Barrett put it: Love embraces “… the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”
And there’s none other than Dr. Seuss’ explanation for why stories about love can be so compelling:
“You know you are in love when you can’t fall asleep because at long last reality is better than dreams.”

And, of course, there’s always the classically gorgeous words of St. Paul:
“Love … believes everything, hopes everything, endures everything …. The greatest of all is love.”

Love stories. We just can’t get enough of them.

Jesus loved love stories too.

We know this because he often spoke of the aching need within each of us, this eternal longing of the heart.

John’s Gospel continues to address the issue of love head on when Jesus tells us shockingly:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”

This surprising statement sums up the entirety of the Gospels and all the Epistles, along with all the spiritual writings and all the Church teachings that have ever been produced through the centuries.  

If we truly “get” this one statement – “As the Father loves me, so I also  love you” – then everything else is mere window dressing.

Because what Jesus is telling us in today’s profound and dazzling Gospel reading is that you and I are loved in the same way and to the same extent that Jesus is loved by God!!

It’s breathtaking when you stop to think about it.

Look back in the Gospels and see for yourself.

All the great stories Jesus ever told and lived – the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Woman Caught in Adultery, the Washing of the Feet of the disciples, the Cleansing of the Lepers, the Curing of the Blind and the Lame, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection – all of these tell the same single tale:
We – each of us – are extravagantly and eternally and infinitely loved.
It’s breathtaking when you ponder the meaning.

In fact, it was out of that conviction that the poet Francis Thompson was able to place these words in the mouth of God:
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He Whom thou seekest.”

Jesus then ends this stunning and startling Gospel message by telling us that we are not slaves “who do not know what the master is doing.” We are “friends.”!!

And because of this boundless love relationship Jesus offers each of us, he makes only one single request – the very same one he gave to his disciples:
“Love one another.”

Ted Wolgamot, Psy.D.

Art by Jim Matarelli
Sister Rachel’s Quote of the Week

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