Complete Joy and Love
We are an Easter people! Just a reminder that six weeks after Easter, we are still celebrating with joy. The psalm we pray this weekend reminds us “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.”
As Easter people, what are we singing about? Where is our joy? What are we joyful about?
In John’s Gospel, Jesus says: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” Complete joy comes from loving one another the way Jesus would!
In our day, it is quite a challenge to truly love those who are different from us. The differences include people who look different, who come from another culture or country, or hold different political or religious beliefs. In our day, almost everything around us fuels that divisiveness. It becomes harder and harder to see what we have in common, to love as Jesus did.
So we pray to God to help us to love one another with God’s heart of love and forgiveness. And we also ACT! We make efforts to know the “other” in our world. One way to do that is to spend time with someone of another culture, race or economic status. Sharing conversation and work promotes peace, understanding and the love Jesus commands. Fr. Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries says we should quit looking at differences and start identifying “samenesses.”
It isn’t easy to love everyone. Yet the challenge remains. The command remains. Our friendship and relationship with God depend on it. When we sing “We Belong to You” we recognize the love relationship between God and the Christian community. That is the same kind of genuine and self-giving love Jesus lived.
Just as in last week’s Gospel of the vine and the branches, we are chosen by God and appointed to go and bear fruit that will remain. Love endures. Love remains if we work for it. If we work for it, we tear down walls, we walk across the bridge to the world of the other, we enter the unknown and that which we fear. We cross boundaries that are holding us back from the love that completes our joy.