- Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe”(Jn14:23-29). Taken from today’s gospel for 6th Sunday of Easter.
- Last Sunday, Jesus taught us that the identity of his followers is nothing but love: by your love for one another will the world recognize that you are my disciples. Today he teaches that all who live in love have God living in them. They therefore have the same God. In fact there is only one God and all that Jesus teaches about love is directed towards our understanding of this unique truth.
Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles speaks of the decision of the Council of Jerusalem. Church leaders in Jerusalem, under the inspiration of Holy Spirit clearly proclaimed that God is the Common Good of all: Jews and gentiles alike. One does not need to throw away his cultural identity and embrace another in order to become a good child of God. God can be reached from any culture. That is why the second reading talks of the heavenly Jerusalem as a city with twelve gates that are kept open day and night. In each of the four cardinal points one finds four gates. The city has no temple because God himself lives in the city. If we reflect on this we will understand that the multiple ways of worshipping God should not cause war. It should rather lead to peace since there is only one God and each person is free to follow the way that he thinks will bring him to God. The twelve gates lead to God.
It is in this line that Jesus says that he is giving his peace to the world. His peace is received not through war but through love. The Romans used the slogan: ‘if you want peace prepare for war’ to speak of the peace that the world can give. This lead Romans to engage in many wars. The end result was not peace but the fall of the Roman Empire. Jesus talks of the peace that the world cannot give. It is a peace that comes when people realize that they are all children of the one and only God whose kingdom is built not on domination of one group by another but by the spread of love and lovely actions. It is the love that makes a man to lay down his life for his people.
When people fight and kill others in the name of God, it is clear that such people do not understand that their God is also the God of their opponents. I read a fable about pigeons that once lived on the roof of a mosque and later on that of a church and finally on that of temple. One day the moslems, the Hindus and the Christians were fighting. A young pigeon asked its mother what was going on. She replied that the Christians, moslems and Hindus were fighting. The little pigeon retorted by asking what makes the people different from one another. They are all humans. It went further to say: when we were on the roof of the mosque we were called pigeon, the same when we were on the church and on the temple. Why do humans complicate simple issues? The answer is that humans do not yet realize that there is only one God.
You certainly know how difficult living out the teachings of Jesus on love is for a good person how much more for ordinary persons like you and I. Jesus knows this and that is why the gospel speaks of his sending us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. He helped the Council of Jerusalem to take better decisions. Learn to ask for his help when it becomes challenging for you to show love to some people. He will lead you to the truth and help you to understand why you should rather love than hate. ©Vita, 22/05/22.