Homily - 6th Sunday Easter - Year B - Love

Homily (Sermon)

Sixth Sunday in Easter Year B - 2015
"What I command you is to love one another.”

First  Act 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalm Psalm 97
New  1 John 4:7-10
Gospel John 15:9-17

[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few week.]

I Love You.

Those were the words I finished my homily with three years ago when I last preached on these readings. So I thought I would start with them this time and tell you what happened after I gave that homily, after I told everyone in the church I loved them. They looked up, they seemed to look at me rather than the vested deacon. Some of them smiled, some of them mouthed the words I Love You, one or two actually said them. Some of the couples in the congregation turned to each other and kissed or said something.

After Mass as I greeted people as they left the church many more told me they loved me, several gave me a hug. We are a community built on Love, Love of each other, Love of God and Loved by God.

Most of the time we find it difficult to show our love, to tell those sitting around us right now that we love them. It’s probably three years since I told Fr Jim and Fr Frank that I love them. If you didn’t hear me preach three years ago you may never have heard me say it. I am after all British and we brits do our best not to show our emotions.

But that is not today's Gospel message, today message is beautiful and simple, todays message is Love. Jesus tells us that:

His Father loves Him,
He loves us and will continue to love us, His friends,
and we should follow His example and love everyone.

Before Christ came the very best of us called ourselves servants or salves. Moses called himself a servant of God, Joshua called himself a servant of God, King David called himself a servant of God. This was a high honour and these men were some of the greatest in our spiritual history.

Jesus changed this relationship, because of love, no longer should we be His living tools, his servants, used to do His work. We should be His friends, compelled through love and friendship to help him with his business.

In the Roman world at the time of Christ there was a title of Friend of the Emperor. A friend of the emperor had unrestricted access to the emperor, they could approach whenever they pleased and ask whatever they liked. They weren't the generals or leaders of the time, they were much closer to the emperor than that.

We have been called friends of God, allowed to approach Him whenever we like, with whatever request we care to bring before him. Through love we have been raised to friends, and it must be through love that we approach our God.

We are called, commanded and compelled to love each other. What a wonderful task that is. It's not always an easy task but it is wonderful. What would our world be like if everyone truly loved everyone?

This is the world we have been hearing about all through Easter, it's the world the apostles were building after Jesus left them. It's the story told in Acts, it's the story of the church, it's our story too, and it will be our children's and their children's until Christ comes again.

Jesus came to us, told us his plans, showed us how to live, and how to die. Showed us love is the only way. Then he commanded us as his friend to do his work. Not as servants just doing as we are told, but as friends, thinking and acting with love, bringing His kingdom of heaven to earth. Think about the worlds of our Lord's Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” By our love for each other that is what we are called to achieve.

Over the last few months a lot of our Children have been preparing to receive their first communion. They have been learning about Gods love, about forgiveness, about taking Christ into themselves, about living a Christian life. Well I have a challenge for those children today, I want you to remember what Jesus told us to do in today's gospel, He told us to love one another, so I want you to tell someone that you love them.

Today's message is beautiful and simple. “What I command you is to love one another.”

My friends, with that as our command, I am going to finish as I started, and I encourage all of you to do them same and tell someone, tell everyone.

My friends, I Love You!

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