God is our dwelling and we are the dwelling of God

God is our dwelling and we are the dwelling of God

By Archbishop Francesco Follo/ zenit.org

Sixth Easter Sunday – Year A – May 21, 2017

This Sunday the liturgy continues the reading of Chapter 14 of the Gospel of John. The theme is love, as it appears from the beginning (“if you love me“) (Jn 14,15) and the conclusion (“whoever loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest myself to Him “)(Jn 14:21) of today’s Gospel. The disciples, terrified by the real possibility that the Master dies, are comforted by Jesus who opens their hearts calling them” friends “and not” servants “, giving them the Eucharist and opening a new way: that of the love given to the world through the Cross. His Cross is the concrete revelation of God who loves to the full gift of self, and a sign of his unlimited presence in the world. On the Cross Christ does not fail but brings to the full the manifestation of His immense love: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn 15: 12-18).

Jesus teaches to his disciples that his donated Love is the strength that allows not to be locked into a limited past, but to be opened to a future perceived as the space of their loyalty to Him in a community and in the world. Only the disciple who accepts the reality of Jesus’ death can open up to a new relationship with the Crucified-Risen: the true “following” begins with Easter, an event that returns Jesus to the believer in a new way.

The Cross is not the end, but the beginning of a new path, and of a relationship with Jesus Christ that has become indestructible. With his death and resurrection He opens the “Way” leading to the “Truth” of the experience of God who the “Life” in full.

On the evening of the first Holy Thursday, the feared Apostles are consoled by Christ who, in addition to proclaiming His love, tells them “I will not leave you orphans.” That evening, Jesus seemed concerned not so much for himself as for his friends who would know the depth of their weakness, the great pain of abandonment, and would look for something to comfort them. Jesus himself would be consoled by the presence of an Angel during his agony in Gethsemane, at the time when the desire to escape the crucifixion will seem to have been born in him too. “Father, if possible, keep away from me this cup, but not mine, but thy will be done.” It is amazing how Jesus, who promised us the Consoler, wanted to be a ‘man of all time’: the man, every man, who knows the abyss of test and of solitude. But in the end the design of realizing the great design of Love for us triumphed.

Even today Jesus repeats to us: “I will not leave you orphans.” These words were, are and will always be a certainty for those who follow Him, yesterday, today and always. He said these words at the most difficult time of his earthly existence and, almost becoming a voice of our fear of being abandoned by everyone, to the point of crying from the cross: “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” (Mt 26: 46). The Risen Christ tells us that the One who loves is the home of the beloved: he brings him into his heart as his life. We have always been in God, who loves us with eternal love. If we love him, he is in us as we are in him.

2) If you love me …

“If you love me you will keep my commands” (Jn 14:15). The words of this verse are repeated as a refrain in verses 21, 23 and 24. This is not an injunction (you must comply) but a revelation of goodness: “if “you love, you will enter a new world. Everything begins with the conjunction “if”, a word filled with delicacy and respect: if you love me. “If”: a starting point so humble, so free, so confident that it helps us to understand that to observe the commandments of Christ is not to obey to an external law, but to live like Him in love. Just as the first Apostles of Christ and of the Gospel were moved by the love lived as a law, we too, moved by the love of Christ, are moved to carry on the task of bringing to the world the love of God made flesh.

If we love Christ, He lives in our thoughts, actions and words and changes them. By doing so, we live his good, beautiful, and happy life. If we love Jesus and observe his commandment of love, we not only do not injure, betray, steal, escape and kill, but we help, receive and bless.

If it is true that today’s theme is love, as I said at the beginning of these reflections, it is equally true that the dominant ideas are two. The first is that the most appropriate criterion for verifying the reality of love for Christ is the obedience to his will, that is, the concrete observance of the commandments, which in Saint John are reduced to the commandment of fraternal love. The second one is that the practice of love is the place where Jesus reveals himself.

Love is so that, when we love someone, the person is in our heart and in our mind and becomes the rule of our life. We know what he or she thinks, what he or she does, and we do what he or she does because we too love what he or she does, In conclusion, love is not only a feeling, it concerns all our being:

It is about knowing: we know a person if we love her, and “love is the way to know God” (Pope Francis);
It touches the will: loving is wanting the good of the other person; really wanting her good;
It inspires the actions: if it touches the intelligence and the will, it inspires the actions; it is acting like the other person.

Love is a communion in the deeper being, it is a union of intelligence, will, and action that makes us like Christ, the Son of God, with the same intelligence, with the same will, with the same actions.

3) “My” Commandments.

In addition to the conjunction “if”, I would like to draw attention to the possessive pronoun “mine”. Saying, “If you keep the commandments” he says “my” commandments. It is as if to say: the Commandments are mine not because prescribed by me, but because they manifest what I am and your future. They summarize me and my whole life. If you love me, you will live like me and with me”

If we love Christ observing his commandments, He lives in us and changes our thoughts, our actions, our words into thoughts, actions and words of good. Then we participate to his freedom, his peace and to the joy of his living in love.

The testimony that what I am proposing is true, comes from the life of the consecrated Virgins. They show discretely but firmly that a life devoted to practicing his words makes the following of Christ as disciples, effective (see Mt 7:24) It is the observance of his commandments which makes concrete the love for Him and attracts the love of the Father (see Jn 14:21). Therefore, there is no love without obedience (“you are my friends, if you do what I command you”) but without love obedience is servile. We are reminded of that by Saint Ambrose who, speaking to the consecrated Virgins, wrote: “With what ties is Christ held? … Not with the knots of ropes, but with the constraints of love and the affection of the soul” (De virginitate, 13.77). Finally, by taking to the letter the lesson of St. Paul “More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him,” (Phil 3: 8-9), these consecrated women live love with” detachment “. The virginal love that they are called to witness to all the baptized, especially to the married couples, realizes the objective and actual good of self and of the others if it maintains an attitude of distance. Only in detachment there is true possession in God, because the hands, rather than clinging to each other, are united in prayer. These folded hands open the heart of God, who pours his merciful love over humanity.

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 22:27
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