May 22, 2022 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/052222.cfm)
So, How’s your love-life? More than having someone to love, love-life is all about having a life of being loving of and being loved by others. And in love, would you agree to these words that, “if you love someone, set them free; if they come back again, till the end you are meant to be?”
When we really come to think of it, for those who have love-life, love harshly teaches us how to let go and set free of one another. For our love to grow and mature, we need also to learn how to let go and set each other free. True enough in loving others, we know that part of it is the experiences of letting go as well as letting grow – of saying goodbye and saying hello – of departure and arrival, of going away and coming back, of leaving behind and starting again anew, of distance as well as closeness. And we learn & experience growth in this kind of love along the way, not without difficulties.
Last Sunday, we heard again the commandment of Jesus: to love one another as I have loved you. He wants us to learn how to love and be loved in return, to share love with one another, same as the way He loved us. Today, Jesus is teaching us His tough kind of love – His way of loving that requires setting one another free. He said, “I am going away and I will come back to you.” Meaning, for His love and our love to grow, we must learn how to let one another go and set each other free. This is the kind of tough love Jesus is teaching and requiring us in loving one another. Part and parcel then of loving like Jesus is our capacity to let go, set free, leave behind, and say goodbye so that our love for one another to grow and mature.
As part of his last words, last farewell, mi ultimo adios to his apostles, Jesus is also trying to tell us that because of his love for us, he has to leave us not to forsake us, but to give us a chance to practice the love he has taught us, and to experience for ourselves the Father’s love he shared us. In other words, as he goes back to the Father, Jesus has given us the opportunity to grow in our faith and to witness and share that faith to others. His commandment of love to us is His kind of loving, that we are to be set free from our kind of loving so that we may grow in Our Father’s love. Out of love and for us to grow in that love, Jesus, as parent, guide, leader, good shepherd, Himself has to distance Himself, step back, let go, say goodbye, & set us free – so that we can love God for ourselves and help others love God for themselves.
Somehow Jesus is saying to us now, “Guys, I have already taught you, guided you what to do. I have already done my part. Now is your time to do your part. Just carry out what I have told you: Love one another just like as I have loved you. By your love and loving, others may believe in God. Yes, I am going away, and I will come back to you. So, don’t worry. I will never abandon you. As you love one another, in Holy Spirit, I will be always with you.”
To us Christians who loves Jesus, this tough Christ-like love that requires distancing in order to grow is very familiar – as well as with our OFW Migrants who loves their family back home. By their love for Christ, their family and loved ones, Filipino Christian migrants find themselves physically distant but still personally close with their family & loved ones, regardless of absence and distance. As I have once ministered them, somehow their example of Christian love-life is a story of being distant yet intimate, of setting free yet coming together again, of departures and arrivals, of goodbyes and hellos. And all of these are not for the sake of preserving good things in life but to make them grow and do their part to be better versions of themselves and others in faith & life so that all may glorify God, and others may believe in Him through Jesus Christ.
In whatever time & situation we are in – here or abroad, normal or new normal, may the love of Christ continue to inspire us to intimately lead our lives in loving God and one another in life – even if at a distance. Amen.