Grow Up In Love

May 14, 2023 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

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“They said if you love someone, you set them free. If they come back again, till the end, you are meant to be.”

Does it ring a bell? Sounds familiar? That is a line from a popular song sung by Barbara Streisand and Barry Manilow called “Some good things never last.” Such line tells us more about love. It is also telling us about growing up in life.

Because we all know, big part of life is GROWING UP. We ourselves grow up – hopefully. And we help others to grow up as well. And we have surely seen how we and others have grown up all these years. Growing up is about really helping oneself and others to help us and them grow up in maturity.

And the commandment of Jesus to love one another has a lot of things to do with growing up. Same as helping others grow is love, to love also means to help oneself and others to grow up in life. Loving would entail giving oneself and each other a chance to GROW, i.e. to allow each other to stand in one’s feet, and be responsible for one’s own and other’s growth.

Loving yourself means not only pampering yourself but letting go of your securities and giving yourself a chance to grow. Loving others would also mean trusting others enough to be on their own so that they can make a stand for their lives. That’s why, in loving others, set fee – let go, let be & let grow.

This is very true in a Parent – Child relationship. Because and out of their love for their children, a parent must learn how to stand back, (not to abandon or reject them) but in order to help and give the children a chance – an opportunity to stand on their own and be responsible for their own life-growth. Just like, a child cannot stand in his own two feet and walk, if & when the parent does not allow the child to stand up and walk.

Experiences of standing back, letting go, saying goodbye, setting free have never been an easy part of growing up as well as loving others. Imagine how hard it was for you and your parent when you had your first step, your first day in school, your first jeepney ride on your own, your first camping, your first date, your first boyfriend/girlfriend, your first job, your wedding day, as well as your first child. But we all know that we must be given a chance and to go through those experiences in order for us to grow up and learn how to live life and love life, because we know deep inside that loving is not about falling in love but growing up in love. We love not because we fall in love, but because we grow in love.

This is what Jesus is trying to teach us in our gospel today. As his paalam, panamilit, last farewell, mi ultimo adios to his apostles, Jesus is trying to tell them that because of his love for them, he should leave them behind, not to forsake them, but to give them a chance to grow in His love – to practice the love he has taught them and to experience for themselves the Father’s love he had preached them. In other words, as he goes back to the Father, Jesus has given them then & us now the opportunity to grow in our faith, and to witness and share that faith to others, just like what happened to the apostles in our first reading. Out of love and in order for us to grow in that love, Jesus – as parent, guide, leader, good shepherd, true vine Himself has to step back, let go, say goodbye, set us free to love God for ourselves and help others love God for themselves.

It is just like Jesus is saying his farewell panamilit 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 and taught you: Love God with all your heart and love one another as yourself, same as I have loved you. By the way, don’t worry. I will never abandon you. I will be always with you in the Holy Spirit.”

Allowing the risen Lord to be part of our daily lives has always been an invitation and challenge of Easter for us. It is both a call and a dare to leave behind to our comfort zones and say goodbye to our usual normal ways, to detach and set ourselves from our attachments, and to engage into an exodus with the Lord towards growth in faith and life – in other words, to grow up in love.

We pray then that as we grow to become responsible disciples for the Lord, may we also grow up responsibly in our faith and life, and in love for Him and others.

So. May it be. Amen. 


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