Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Ps. 98; 1 Jn. 4:7-10; Jn. 15:9-17
Our readings today show us how God always makes the initiative. God makes the initiative. Most of the time, we talk about someone taking the initiative, but how can anyone take anything unless it has first been made? And when it comes to matters of faith, in every instance, God makes the initiative. Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you….” We see the manifestation of this calling by God in the Acts of the Apostles as the Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius and all who were listening to the word. This word comes to us today saying, “Remain in my love.”
God makes the initiative, but gives us the freedom to respond. Part of being chosen includes belonging to the People of God. And while God had chosen the Israelites, entering into covenant with them, we see human freedom in action by the way the Israelites responded to God. There were generations who were faithful to the covenant; there were generations who broke the covenant. But, since God cannot contradict Himself, he sent prophets to call the people back to communion. For those who returned, God restored the covenant with them, adding new terms, like an everlasting throne to David, and a New Covenant not written on stone, but in the heart of the people. That New Covenant remains with us today in the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus, who came to do not his own will, but the will of His heavenly Father, because God makes the initiative.
Jesus’ passion and death are not just signs of our salvation, but the culmination of a life lived entirely in harmony with the Father. This harmony between the Father and the Son existed from all eternity, but by taking on flesh, Jesus shows us that it is possible for all of us to live in such harmony, even during his own agony in the garden, when he says, “Not my will but your will be done.” This harmony stems from the love Jesus has for the Father.
Jesus commands us to love one another because God is love, and anyone who loves is of God. There are no greater commandments than to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these.
So, as we continue to reflect upon the law of love, perhaps we might ask ourselves how have I been loving God and others? Do I give freely of my time or am I wasting it? We only have one shot at this life, are we making the best of it by sharing our life, our love with others? This time of year is great for outdoor gatherings, and as restrictions begin to fade, will we spend time with our loved ones? Or will we remain stagnant? Remember, God makes the initiative. How will we respond?
And now, as we seek to remain in the love of Christ, may the communion we share today unite us in His love so that love may overflow from within us to our families, our friends, and the world.
Given during the COVID-19 pandemic.