As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you: abide in my love....
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:9, 12)
A short time ago, I was hiking in the woods with some friends. Along the path, we came upon a pond. As we stood and chatted in the peacefulness of this scene in the woods, we quietly tossed a few stones into the center of a pond. Chatting away, we noticed the splash as the rock hit the water. More interesting was what happened to the whole pond. As the rock broke the surface of the water, ripples spread outward from this center and ultimately reached even to the far shoreline.
This Sunday (6th Sunday of Easter) the Gospel shows Jesus leading us to see the loving relationship that is created between God as our loving parent and ourselves. This love of God, in fact brings a whole series of loving relationships into our world. As complex as Christian faith can seem to be, it is in fact founded on a simple revelation: God loves us, all of us. God reveals this love in Jesus himself and from Jesus this revelation is to reach out through us to all. Like the rock thrown into the pond, Jesus breaks through the surface creating ripples of our God’s love that reach to the far and distant shores of our world.
This is the chain of loving relationships that appears in John’s Gospel today (John 15:9-17). Jesus received and accepted the Father’s love. He loved his disciples with this same love. As disciples we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us. And we are to share the ripples of this love to the ends of the earth.
Again and again, the Book of the Acts, show us the earliest Christian communities revealing the outward ripples of this loving relationship. The Spirit of the living God is given freely. It knows no bounds and shows no partiality (Acts 10:25-48). God’s love is a gift, not earned or merited, not limited or measured, but boundless, open and free for all – a true gift and blessing.
As it happens, this weekend we observe Mother’s Day. What a reflection of God’s love touches us in our mother’s love, in the love of every mother. Such love is more than a simple word. It is, in fact something we can only know by experiencing it. We learn to love by witnessing love in living examples that surround us through life. Our mothers and fathers proclaim the reality of love for us from the very beginning of our lives. Our discipleship, more than anything else is sharing this as Jesus has shown us with the expression of open, caring, compassionate love for all the peoples of the earth.