SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER.
GOSPEL READING: JN.15:9-17
Vs.9 Jesus said to his disciples; “As the father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love.
Vs.10 If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
Vs.11 I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.
Vs.12 This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
Vs.13 A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
Vs.14 You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
Vs.15 I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master’s business: I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my father.
Vs.16 You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask in my name.
Vs.17 What I command you is to love one another.”
HISTORICAL SITUATION FOR 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
JOHN 15: 9-17
The gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter in years A,B and C is always taken from St John. This passage is a continuation of the last discourse with his disciples and follows directly from last Sunday ( the vine and the branches).
Where did this take place? This happened in the upper room where Jesus had demonstrated his love by the washing of the feet and now makes a heartfelt profession of that love to his disciples.
When did this happen? This is the last discourse in John’s Gospel – Jesus’s farewell words for his disciples in face of his imminent departure.
Who was there? His disciples with whom he had enjoyed close friendship over the past three years.
Jesus recognises that the love he gives is the love that he has received from his Father. Now he invites his disciples to receive this love so that they in turn might bring it to others. The love that he gives is unconditional. In remaining in this love his disciples will live as the Father desires them to live.. “keeping the commandments”(much more than a set of obligations but rather a whole way of being).
Such love will always be a source of joy both for the person giving and the person receiving.
Jesus gives the disciples his life-giving message in a nutshell – to love as he has loved, total self-giving for the sake of the other – a man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
The words that Jesus speaks about friendship define the quality of his mature relationship with his disciples – not superior or inferior, master or servant – but a relationship of equals on the level ground.
A relationship of friends, where mutual need and fulfilment are met. “I do not call your servants anymore, I call you friends.”
In opening up his heart and his mind to them he has nurtured this friendship…”I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my father..”
“You did not choose me” – Jesus is convinced that the source of this friendship comes from God.
His great hope for the disciples is that this friendship will continue to inspire and that his disciples will blossom and flourish in the proclamation of his love…”I have commissioned you to go out and bear fruit…”
Can you remember an experience of love that touched you deeply? It was as if you understood the meaning of love for the first time: to give of oneself freely and generously so that the other might find life: strength and security, realize their potential, and flourish in love?
Can you remember an experience when you showed love to someone and you realised that this same love was once shown to you.
Can you remember the joy in love given and in love received?
True friendship is a relationship of equals. When have you experienced friendship as one of the greatest treasures in human life? Who was that friend with whom you could be fully yourself – warts and all- with whom you felt safe and with whom you could open up the truth of your mind and heart and they found the same in you?
Can you remember and celebrate lives that have blossomed and flourished through deep friendship?
Can you remember someone coming close to the end of his/her life and reminding you that love and loving relationships are all that really matter in the end?