The Seventh Sunday of the Resurrection
May 8, 2016 at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Norman, OK
Ephesians 1, 15-23 + John 13, 31-35
Today in the Maronite Sunday readings, we have stopped telling stories of the risen Christ and Easter. Not because we have run out of them; but Pentecost is near and what is really important is the result of the resurrection in terms of how it changed others. We shall tell that story soon with Pentecost. It is the story of how followers of Christ were changed by the resurrection and the coming of the Spirit. It is the story of how the Easter experience was absorbed and finally changed the very identity of those who followed the risen Christ.
The “glorification” Jesus speaks of and anticipates in John’s Gospel chapter after chapter is that moment or that experience when His oneness with God is unmistakable. It means that his presence can no longer be misunderstood nor seen as anything other than the presence of God. The death and resurrection of Jesus is his glorification. For those who recognize the meaning of his death and resurrection, the love of God is revealed. What seems to the unbeliever to be a disappointment and the violent destruction of a human life and the end of all hope is really the moment of glory.
All that Jesus had is given to the community. It was the heart of his final prayer in that upper room, and it the mission he fulfilled. The love of the Son is revealed as the very essence of divine life being poured out into the community. All that Jesus had was love, and he gave it all. What the Father had given him was what he gave to his disciples. When he proclaimed that He and the Father were one, it was LOVE that they shared. What the Son provided was the mutual indwelling lover of God. What Jesus gave was his flesh, his body, his blood, his will so that the Lord of God would have a dwelling place, be accessible, be available, be ours.
Once we understand this, the commandment to “Love one another” is not simply a moral mandate. It becomes an expression of glory, a revelation of God’s presence and God’s love. This is a new kind of love for this world which only believes in love for the loveable, love for those who deserve it, “love for the lovely”, shall we say. Divine Love to which we are called and which we experience is what we find in Jesus who held nothing back, poured out everything because God does. When stop to remember that Jesus died for Judas just as much as he died for Peter, John, James, Andrew, Martha, Mary and all the rest we might start to see what is Divine and out of the ordinary here. This is glory. This is the glory of God revealed. He died for Judas and every other doubter and betrayer.
This is something new to the world, and this kind of love makes the world new. It is love that means opening doors we may have closed against others. It is a love that means we will respond to appeals that cry out for our help, without concerns about whether or not those who cry are deserving or worthy. It means that oversights or mistakes that someone may have made are forgotten before they apologize or even if they don’t.
We have been raised with Jesus, and no power on earth can really conquer us. We have received the Spirit he promised. We have the gifts it takes to set this world on fire with love. It is no longer the gifts of that Spirit for which we wait, now it is the fruits of those gifts that remain to be manifest: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Friendliness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-0control As we look toward Pentecost, it must not be simply a matter of what gifts we receive, but rather how those gifts are manifest in our lives because of Jesus Christ we and the Father are one, and the hour has come for us to be glorified so that God is present wherever we are found.