Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B
9 May 2021
“In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” I Jn. 4:10
In today’s Readings we are again reminded of the great love which God has for men. In many ways these readings are an explanation of this love. First, there is God’s love for us. Then there is our response in love for God’s love. Finally, we see the effects of God’s love in our lives by the fruits and blessings which we enjoy in this life and will enjoy for all eternity in heaven because God sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
God’s Love for Us
Today, there is so much talk of love in the world, but there seems to be no real understanding of love because God is not part of the lives of many who speak of love. St. John tells “He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity (love).” I Jn. 4:8 If we want to understand love, then we must see what blessings God has given us in this life and will give us in heaven.. We see in the Second Reading (I Jn. 4:7-10) that God has loved us first! This is a most consoling thought! God loves us so much that He sent His “Son as a propitiation for our sins.” I Jn. 4:10. Who could ever imagine a God who sacrifices His only-begotten Son for the creatures who have offended Him.. If we offend our parents it is a greater sin than if we offend our brother or sister,. As God is infinite, sin is an infinite offense against Him and nothing that we could do could make up for it. Therefore, only an infinite God could make up for our sins. But God cannot suffer! This is why Jesus became man and assumed a human nature so that He could suffer: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4: 4 This great mystery of the two natures, human and divine, in Jesus Christ is called the hypostatic union. In today’s gospel (Jn. 15:9-17), Jesus’ Incarnation as man reveals His great love as the God-Man: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jn. 15:13 How much we owe the Father for sending His Son to die for our sins, and how much we should love Jesus Christ, who in obedience to His Father, became Man in order to die for our sins.
Our Response to God’s Love
Because Jesus was an offering (propriation) for our sins, we certainly should love Him. First, we see that not only did He die for our sins, but He has also chosen us to be His friends: “But I have called you friends: ... You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit;” Jn. 15: 15-16 How do we show our love for God? St. John tells us that we need to obey His Commandments: “If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love;..” Jn. 15:10. We are His friends also if we obey Him: “You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you.” Jn. 15:14 God also wants us to show our love for Him by loving our neighbour: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” Jn. 15:12 St. John also tells us that the love of our neighbour is all-important for our love for God: “If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?” I Jn. 4:20
Effects of God’s Love
For those who love God there are many blessings. First, we can see with the coming Jesus Christ, the world was brought out of the great darkness of paganism. Second, society was transformed from one which hated their neighbour to one which love and sacrificed for them; the lives of the countless number of saints reveal the peace and joy that came from this love. In today’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (10:25...48), we see how a Roman Centurion and his whole household were converted to Christianity; St. Peter compliments him for his decision by saying that God blessed this gentile with the gift of faith: “And Peter opening his mouth, said: In very deed I perceive, that God is not a respecter of persons. But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh justice, is acceptable to him.” Acts.10: 34-35
God’s Blessings for All Who Love Him
Those who do what is right before God will be blessed in this life and in eternity. The lives of those who love God will bear much fruit in their lives, and God will answer their prayers: “You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” Jn. 15:16 Jesus also promises joy for all who love Him in this life: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled.” Jn. 15:11 Hitherto, Jesus had promised His Apostles a place in his heavenly kingdom: “You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you.”Jn. 14:1-2 We need to thank and adore God continually for creating us and sending His son to redeem us by dying on the Cross and being the propitiation for our sins so that we could be happy with Him for all eternity in heaven.