6 Easter Sunday – 13.05. 2007 Mother's Day
Acts 15, 1-2. 22-29; Psalm 67; Revelation 21, 10-14. 22-23; St. John 14,23-29
I begin by wishing the mothers here present a Happy Mother's Day. I am offering this Mass for our mothers, whether they are present with us or far away, whether they are living or deceased. Today is a beautiful day to remember our mothers and to pray for them.
When Jesus says, in today's gospel, “Whoever loves me will keep my word,” he wishes to remind us that, though it is easy to say that we love Him, it is far more difficult to love others for his sake. A few lines further in the next chapter Jesus specifies more precisely: “If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. And this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15,10.12)
It is very easy to talk about love of God, it is not even very difficult to participate quite regularly in Sunday Masses, but it is much more difficult to keep God’s commandments in our daily lives. Maybe it is necessary to ask, first at all, a more basic question: “Do I know the commandments? How do I understand them? Did I not create my own easy understanding of the word of God?” In today's Catholicism we very often accept God, we profess His love towards us, but at the same time –contradictorily (or "in contradiction") - we reject His commandments or we create our own easy interpretation of them. In this way we create our own, private religion, or mild version of the moral law, and so, finally, we worship not God, but idols who are compassionate and kind enough not to ask too much from us, not to overdo requirements and restrictions especially those affecting our private lives.
It is very easy to talk about love of God, but it is much more difficult to love others (be it a wife, a husband, a fiancé, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a neighbor, companions at work) like Jesus loves them (á la manière de Jésus). When we talk about love, we very often think in terms of sexual love. Is this the same as what Jesus is commanding us in today’s Gospel?
In "My Fair Lady" Eliza Doolittle tells Professor Higgins, "Don't talk about love - show me!" This is the same idea we can find in the latest Encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XVI “Deus Caritas est”, but this love we have to show is certainly not the same as that of pop songs.
Once Francis of Assisi, chanced upon a woman who told him she did not love God. She had no intention of ever obeying Him, because God is too demanding. As he and she walked along together, they passed a man who was both blind and crippled. Francis asked him, "Were I to give you sight and enable you to walk, what would your response be?" As you might imagine, the man said eagerly, "I would both love you and be your servant forever." Il Poverello turned to the woman and quietly queried, "You just heard him. He would both love me and obey me. Why then do you not cherish and obey the Almighty who has so generously allowed you to both see as well as run if you choose?"
God does ask us the same question every day. "Why do you not both love and obey me? Consider all I have given you all your life." On the face of it, there is no one of us who can be offended by the question.