6th Sunday of Easter (B).
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 4-48; 1 Jn 4:7-10; Jn 15:9-17
We are all precious in the eyes of God. God has created us for a purpose and we all have some mission to accomplish in our lives. The important verse in today’s Gospel is ‘You have not chosen me, I have chosen you’. We, often, mistakenly think that it is we who have chosen our God. But it is God who calls us even into existence. We are not creatures of accident. We have not come into existence, just because our parents decided to love each other. We were born and we are alive today because God wills it.
God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you (1: 5).” God is aware of our existence, and we are embedded deeply in the mind of God. Jesus very beautifully said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid, you are of more value than many sparrows (Mt 10: 29-31).”
We may be unwanted by people; we may be rejected and shunned by people. I may be an unwanted son in the family; or you may be an unwanted mother or daughter in the family, but keep this in mind: we are wanted by God; we are worthy, we are precious in the eyes of the Lord. In prophet Isaiah, the Lord said, “Because you are precious in my sight, I love you (43:4)”. And He said, “I have carved you on the palms of my hand (49:16).”
We are called and chosen by Jesus for three things:
1.We Are Chosen For Joy: A Christian needs to feel joyful always. He or she should rejoice always – in good times and in bad. St. Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice (Phil 4: 4).” St. Paul was in prison and he was almost certain that he would be put to death, yet he was able to advice his disciples to ‘rejoice’.
William Barclay, the Biblical commentator said, “Christian joy is independent of all things on earth because it has its source in the continual presence of Christ… The Christian can never lose his joy because he can never lose Christ.”
We need to be joyful because we have royalty, victory and dignity. We have a royalty, which is given by God; no matter how humble our birth is, we are the children of God. We have a victory and we meet life and all its demands in the conquering presence of God.
2.We Are Chosen to be Jesus’ Friends: Jesus has called us to be His friends. He said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father (Jn.15: 14-15).”
Nowhere else can people call God as a friend? The Greeks looked at gods as vengeful and jealous. The Jews looked upon God as ‘El Shaddai’- God Almighty or the One on the mountain. They considered God as the all-powerful. Even the holy prophets considered themselves as the servants of God.
It is Jesus who has brought in this new kind of relationship between God and us. Now we are the friends of God, because of Jesus. Joseph Scriven wrote: “What a Friend we have in Jesus; all our sins and grief to bear! What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!.
- We Are Chosen for Love: As the disciples of Jesus we are sent out into the world to love one another. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: Love one another, just as I have loved you.”
Love that comes from God must enable man to love and enable him to abide in it throughout his life. We have to bear rich fruit that will last. (15:14,16). That means we have to do our duties and live in this world in such a way that everything we do should be the outcome of love. Our actions must manifest God’s infinite love for us. Love should be a criterion of our deeds.
We are urged to show to one another the kind of God’s love Jesus revealed, as we live as members of a Christian community.
To love one another is not a platitude but a prescription, not a counsel but a command. Laying down of one’s life will often mean a lot of little ways of laying downs of our selfishness for the good of others.
But it is also possible to lay down even one’s life for others. Has not Christ’s command inspired martyrs and soldiers and missionaries in every century since the time of Christ? When we are selfish and refuse to love, we build a wall around ourselves and condemn ourselves to a winter of loneliness and bitterness. But when we love and care, the wall falls down and we experience springtime of joy and peace.
After Mother Theresa received the Noble Prize, someone asked her, “How can we solve the world’s problems.” She replied, “Go home and love one another.” The thing that is destroying the world today is: hatred and intolerance. God has called us not to be agents of death, but rather to be the agents of love and life. It is only love, which can save the world from destruction. And love shall be the only thing that is eternal. St. Paul wrote, “Faith, hope and love abide. But the greatest of these is love (I Cor 13: 13).”
May God Who created and called us for a purpose, and planted His love within our hearts, help us to bear fruits worthy of His calling.
Prayer: Give me the gift of laughter, Oh, Jesus! I pray though tears should over near; Give me the gift of laughter for each day Laughter to cast out fear.