Monday, May 10, 2021

HOMILY – 6th Sunday of Easter – The Power of Love


Today Jesus is talking about the transformative power of love.

In his farewell speech to his disciples, Jesus is reminding them to love as he loved, but most importantly, to love each other as he loved each one of them.

This love creates a union, a bond that is hard to break.

Scripture scholars say, “the real proof of that union of wills which is called love… will ensure the permanence of Christ’s (love)”[1] dwelling within them.

This union between Christ and his disciples is the point of the Vine and Branches metaphor Jesus is using to make his point.

Without this union of wills there would be no way for the ministry of Jesus to grow once he is gone.

This entire conversation comes immediately before Jesus talks about the hostile world the disciples will be facing. The first hearers of John’s Gospel understood this hostile world well. They had lived through the persecutions and public executions.

The disciples had only a glimpse of it, and better understood once Jesus was taken away to be crucified.

           What creates this union of wills and the connection to Christ is to keep his commandments of loving God and loving others. In loving God and others, we enter into a friendship with Christ that can powerfully shape how we live our lives if we choose to let it.

           “The friendship between Christ and every Christian, which our Lord expresses so clearly in this passage, led St John of the Cross to write: ‘Call him Beloved to spur him to answer your prayers, for when God is loved he is not slow to respond to the petitions of the one who loves him. […] The Christian soul can truly call him Beloved when his mind and heart are set on him alone’ (Spiritual Canticle, 1, 13).”[2]

           Remaining in Jesus’ love is what his homily is all about. Because when we remain in his love our love will bear much fruit in spreading the Gospel.

“The Greek word for ‘remain,’ menō, occurs eleven times in these few verses, a repeated insistence on the return of Jesus by indwelling (in us).”[3]

           I’ve seen how remaining in Christ’s love bears much fruit firsthand. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Our MercyWatch team in Snohomish County grew from a handful to hundreds in our first year in 2016.

Recently, a newly retired team member raised 100-thousand dollars for a medical van in just a few short months during the pandemic. 

Earlier this year, our team was tasked by the Snohomish County Health District to vaccinate the homeless population with the COVID 19 vaccine. Our efforts are well underway as we participate in what Pope Francis calls a culture of encounter on the peripheries. This is where love is put into action. This is all thanks to the transformative power of Jesus’ love flowing through his ministries.

We know the spirit is alive and well in our homeless outreach and street medicine ministry. We know Jesus is present every time our team goes out. And because our branches are connected to Jesus’ vine we are able to produce abundant fruit.

(St. Patrick Version)


(Christ Our Hope Version - additional content)

Here’s another important passage of the Gospel to unpack. Jesus said:  

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.”

Bishop Robert Barron says there is something powerful about this line in that within it is the spiritual life we are all called to. 

Then he goes on to say, “The sheerest sign that someone is not living the spiritual life correctly is… a deeply unhappy attitude. That’s the sign that you don’t have the spirit in you. The flag of the Holy Spirit is joy… If we’re missing that we’re missing the entire program. If you’re living your spiritual life thinking, we’ll I’ve got.. my ethical life… my liturgical life and my moral life (all together), but I’m this kind of crabby, unhappy, miserable person, well then I’m missing the whole point.” 

In St. John’s First Letter we hear that the source of this powerful love is God. In other words, God is love – the source of all love.

How do we show God is love here at Christ Our Hope?


-          Sacred Encounters, our street ministry team goes out every Wednesday to minister to the unhoused living on the streets of downtown Seattle

-          Thanks to a generous benefactor, we now offer weekly catered dinners to Josephinum residents


-          The parish donated 100K to five agencies working with those on the margins last December as our Christmas gift to Seattle


This is how we put the transformative power of love into action in our world. 

This is how we remain in Christ’s love and bear much fruit. 

This is how our joy is complete.

[1] Leonard, W. (1953). The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St John. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 1007). Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.

[2] The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (pp. 425–426). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.

[3] Bergant, D., & Karris, R. J. (1989). The Collegeville Bible commentary: based on the New American Bible with revised New Testament (p. 1006). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. 

No comments:

Post a Comment