Sunday, 19 May 2019 : Fifth Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this fifth Sunday in the season of Easter all of us are called to be filled with love, for we are God’s people and disciples, and God is love. If God is love Himself, then how can we not be filled with love? All those who genuinely believed and called themselves followers of God must be like Him in all things, and in particular, in the matter of love.

And what is love, brothers and sisters in Christ? Love is something that has often eluded our understanding, as there are really so many different interpretations, meanings, and ways how we exhibit and show love in our daily living. And surely many of us equate love with what we have seen in the popular media, when two starry-eyed lovers fall for each other, doing silly things and happy things together.

Yes, love does cause people to be happy and to be joyful, and it is genuine love that will bring about true joy and happiness. But love endures and remains even when things are gloomy and dark, when we struggle and encounter difficulties in life. It is true love that will persist on amidst these challenges and that is also how we know if love is truly present in our relationships and interactions with one another.

First of all, what is love? Love is, in its essence and core, consist of sacrifice and giving of oneself, of commitment and dedication, of care and concern, not for oneself but for another person. If love is based first and foremost on our own desires and wants, then I am afraid that this kind of love is not truly a genuine love, for there are ulterior motives driving behind the facade of love, that will easily fall away in the moment of difficulties and challenges.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, in our community today and in our whole world today, there are so many different tragedies and difficulties that people of various backgrounds experience because there is a lack of love or true, genuine love in our interaction and relationship with each other. We show love that is not real love, but one that is basically a transactional relationship where we want things to go our way, and for us to benefit from this love we show.

But that is not love, for real love is something that is giving and not taking away, a sharing and not an exclusion. And there has been no better example of love than indeed, God Himself, He Who is Love, Incarnate in the flesh, in the form of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who came down into this world bearing the love of God not just in words but in action, as He showed us all what God’s love truly is like.

He Himself has shown us what real, genuine and unconditional love is like. He laid down His own life on the cross, bearing all the sufferings and difficulties, the pains and sorrows of our humanity’s innumerable sins. He took up all those without complaints or the desire to gain anything for Himself. He gave Himself so completely to us that He even shed His Body and Blood for our sake, that we may all be saved.

Thus, when the Lord Jesus spoke of His new commandment, the commandment of love that He has brought into this world, He Himself became the first to fulfil that commandment, as He loved His heavenly Father so completely that He obeyed His will that He had to bear the burden of the Cross, and at the same time also loving all of us so much that to bear such a painful burden and going through a most humiliating death of a criminal on the Cross was something that Christ did for us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians are called to follow the example of Our Lord Himself, in how we should live our lives, in how we interact with one another and in how we should love our friends and families, all those who are dear and precious to us. We are called to bear true love in all of our actions, that instead of being people who are selfish and seeking for only our own benefits, we can be people who are self-giving and compassionate, as Christ had done for us.

That is why, each and every one of us must commit ourselves to the path of love, to die to our pride and desire within us, the two things that often become the ruin of many friendships and relationships, as conflicting desires and human pride cause pain, hurt, jealousy, anger and many other forms of sufferings for us. Instead, we should be role models of our loving faith, so that in everything we do, love and indeed, genuine, compassionate love will be in everything we do and become the foundation of our very existence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to progress through this blessed season of Easter, let us make it our commitment to be more loving and be more compassionate in all things, and learn to share God’s many blessings and graces He has given us with our brethren who have not been so fortunate. Let us all reach out to them with love, and let the love of God be in everything we do and fill the whole world with the wonders of this love.

May God bless us all and may He empower us all to live courageously with faith, with hope and with love from now on, each and every days of our lives, now and forevermore. Amen.

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