Love and Service

05-19-2019From Our PastorFather Prince Raja

During the Easter season the liturgy brings us closer to the resurrected Jesus and makes us realize that we are always united to him and he is united to us. He gives the invitation to all of us to enter into the true discipleship but in the context of the community. On his mission he sends his disciples two by two and teaches them to proclaim his kingdom as a community.

The theme that dominates the readings of today is love and service. Jesus told his disciples to love one another as he himself had loved them. He showed the type of love they ought to have: he served them and washed their feet during the final meal. During the Last Supper he told them that there is no greater love than one giving his life for his friends and he gave his life for all, calling them his friends. He also defined for us the meaning of God's love which is sacrificing and self-emptying love. God emptied himself and gave his only son for our sake that we may have life in him.

The First Reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles tells us about the early missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas. They went through all hardships and misunderstandings while communicating the message and vision of Jesus to all. At the same time to those who were already Christians they gave support and encouragement to persevere in their Christian convictions.

The Second Reading from the Book of Revelation helps us to understand the purpose of the progressive development of the spiritual wonders of God within the Church. John sees the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from heaven. Here he has a vision of new heaven and new earth. In his vision John sees the picture of the end time, indicated in this newness. The imagery presented is one of the brides which are the Church. The presence of the bride groom, Jesus himself is a sign of joy. Hence in that context every tear will be wiped away and all sadness removed. All evil, all pain, worry and anxiety will come to an end. Joy will pervade the whole universe.

The Gospel of last week spoke of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and the need of hearing His voice and following Him. Today's Gospel in the next step towards our spiritual growth as we are called to reflect on our service of love in the Lord Jesus. The theme of departure and return are important for the Gospel. Departing is not a negative move on the part of Jesus. He has prepared his disciples for this moment and it will be the fulfillment of his mission. Jesus must return to his Father but the disciples must stay and continue the work Jesus has given them.