Reflection on the Sixth Sunday of Easter
When I first looked through the readings for these weeks after Easter, I was very surprised to find myself feeling almost flooded with love: Love seemed to be everywhere!! Of course, many of the readings are taken from the writings of John, Jesus’ good friend, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Today’s readings begin with the story of John’s amazing announcement of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles – that’s a great surprise! – there seem to be no limits! John makes this announcement: “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is perfected in us.” (Jn. 3:12-13) John says: “Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God!” Begotten by God? Imagine what a shock this would be if you thought you had to do a lot of fasting and praying – and here they’re saying you only need to be loving! It sounds so simple!
That is a startling statement. Think about it: I trust that everyone here has at some time or times known what it means to be loved, to feel loved – parents, children, friends, spouses – someone has loved you. But do you ever make the connection with God? The text says that love is God, indicating that if love is here, God is here! You know we sing that all the time, “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est!” I wonder if we have any idea what we’re singing! If we’re loving, or if we experience knowing we are loved, God is here! John, who apparently wrote these epistles, sees this as an indisputable fact. If there’s love, God is here. We profess – easily enough – that God is love. But what John seems to be saying is that our experience of love is an experience of God – we’re speaking of real love now, not just some momentary flash. In any case, it would be good to take some quiet time and think of your experience of love – now or past, and focus your energy to recognize that this love has, all along, been God’s presence in your life. I believe we take love for granted, and so we lose that opportunity to acknowledge the nearness, we might say the “commonness” of God’s presence. Stop and pay attention: Describe its feeling, its opening, expansive power, its grace-fulness, how it is a gift. Today’s readings invite us to pay attention to this gift: Connect that feeling of love with God’s presence in our lives.
And one last thing: Teilhard de Chardin has given us a beautiful insight that is emerging in our current worldview. Chardin suggests that we can begin to see the universe, and our Earth’s evolution, as the forward movement, the “evolution of love,” which is now our human task: to recognize God whose creative power of love is revealing itself in the evolutionary process we see all around us. Creation is still happening, and it shows itself in our continually evolving universe, or, who knows, perhaps universes. God is holding you and me in being, creating us right now. Our God’s creating love is without limits of time or space.
Our task, from the beginning, is, as Jesus taught: “Love one another as I have loved you.” It is endless. We sing it all the time, but we probably don’t stop to think what we’re saying: “Ubi caritas et amor; ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.” Sing it to yourself. Honor God’s love within you.