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6th Easter Sunday

6th Easter Sunday                                                                                                                              

Dear friends in Christ,

 

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” How do we understand this commandment? Love has to be free, not an obligation. How can we be commanded to love?

Meister Eckhart, a 14th century theologian trying to explain this mystery, wrote, “When I am thirsty, the drink commands me; when I am hungry, the food commands me. And God does the same when he commands me to love.” Love is essential for human life; it is a must. The command to love is not something from outer space. It is not something forced on us from the outside, rather it is a command from the inside, an inner demand placed in us by God. Love is totally from God, and yet it is totally our own.

Talking of love, St. Augustine wrote in his Confession: “Late have I loved you, oh Beauty ever old, ever new, late have I loved you. You were within me, and I was outside myself.” This seems to twist away the traditional image in Revelation where Christ is standing at the door and knocking. The image in Revelation makes us face the truth: because we often live outside ourselves, focusing so much on exteriors that Christ has been kept out of our hearts. Examining his heart, St. Augustine cried out: “You were with me but I was not with you.”

Most of us grew up with the belief that God was somewhere else, far away, not right here. As a result, we expected that any communication from God would be something coming to us from the outside. But Christ is always the one on the inside, knocking to get us to come back in.

Jesus’ commandment of love is truly a commandment of self-discovery. It is his invitation to joy for all: “Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Joy is at the center of our faith. And joy does not enter into us but rather we enter into it.

Fr. Joe