Detailed homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter Year B
Theme: ALL-INCLUSIVE LOVE
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday May 9 2021
R1 – Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48
R2 – 1Jn 4:7-10
GOSPEL – Jn 15: 9-17
There was a story about two little boys who were brothers and went to Catechism for an enrollment. The Catechist asked these little brothers about their age and birthdays so he could place them in the registration form. The bolder of the two replied: “We’re both seven. My birthday is April 8 and my brother’s birthday is April 20.” The catechist replied: “But that’s not possible, boys.” The quieter brother spoke up: “No, it’s true. One of us is adopted.”
“Oh!” said the Catechist, “Which one is the adopted?” The two brothers looked at each other and smiled. The bolder brother said: “We asked Dad that same question awhile ago but he just looked at us and said he loved us both equally and he couldn’t remember anymore which one of us is adopted.” What a wonderful analogy of God’s love for us. It is a love without condition; it does not discriminate.
Beloved in Christ, the Scripture passages of this Sunday’s liturgy, invite us to embrace the profound truth that, God’s all-inclusive love for humanity is without conditions and discrimination; and those who believe in Christ are to obey his commandment of all-inclusive love, that is “Loving one another in equally capacity, as we have loved ourselves and as he has loved us.”
At the introit story, is a wonderful analogy for the love of God. God loves us all, equally. We are loved, not because we have earned God’s love or deserved it, but because of God’s grace.
In the first reading, we see an exemplary of the all-inclusive nature of God’s love, who welcomed the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household as the first set of non-Jews to become Christians. Thereby, instilling in us that God’s love is for both Jews and gentiles, Christians and muslims, blacks and whites, rich and poor, master and slave, without discrimination and segregation; that God loves everyone and He wants everyone to be saved through His son, Jesus.
In the second reading, John defines God as love and explains that He expressed His love for mankind by sending His son to die for us humans “as expiation for our sins.” This Divine love gives us the command as well as duty to love one another as we have been loved by God.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus chides his followers to obey his commandment of love, just as he has obeyed his Heavenly Father’s will. The highest expression of this love is our willingness to lay down our lives as Jesus did, for people who don’t deserve it. The goal and result of our abiding in love, in God, will be perfect joy. Jesus no longer calls us slaves but now calls us “friends.”
There is no doubt that love is the overarching thread which ties together this Sunday’s readings. In various forms, the word is used eleven times in the Gospel and its Acclamation and equally used nine times in the second reading, both as the verb agapaô (“to love”) and as the noun agápê(love). More so, there is an emphasis, “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). The question remains, “What is the nature of God’s love for us?” God’s love for the whole humanity, irrespective of colour, race, tribe or nationality is all-inclusive, indiscriminate, unconditional and universally proportionate, since we are all created with equal dignity in God’s image and likeness.
So therefore, All-inclusive love is that kind of love that possesses universal character, embracing all humanity as one family of God. It observes no logistics or protocols. It has no favourite. It cares and loves even the enemy and forgives all wrongs. It is traditionally unconditional and does not require repayment.
God who chides us to accept his commandment of all-inclusive love has no favorite. He discriminates not in loving; rather, he freely communicates his love and spirit to all who accepts him; whether jew or gentle; black or white; rich or poor; tall or short, in equal capacity. The fullness of this love is expressed in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
Remember, Jesus is the only begotten son of God (Jn 3:16). We all have a share in calling God, ABBA Father through adoption (Eph 1:5, Gal 4:4-7). Yet, God’s all-inclusive love treats us like true heirs and heirs apparent of his Kingdom. Like the father figure in the introit story, who can no longer differentiate the adopted son from his biological son, God’s all-inclusive love is a reminder that God our Father does not regard or treat us like adopted children. He rather treats us like His biological sons and daughters (Heb 12:23).
Humanity too, whether in Africa, Europe, Asia or America, should regard each other and treat one another as one, with equal rights and dignity. Infact, the rapid spread of COVID-19 pandemic like a wildfire across the globe is an indication that humanity is one and equal, and inalienable. No one can survive without the other; no one is more superior than the other, and no race, tribe, nationality, continent or conglomerate of people, whether in the first world, second world or third world countries can do without the other. So, all-inclusive love is the key.
(1) *WE ARE CREATED EQUAL AND ONE BEFORE GOD.*
The universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that we are all born in equal rights and dignity. The scripture went further to ascertain that we were created in God’s image and likeness. How come do we build walls of classicism between Jews and Gentiles; Christians and muslims; rich and poor; slave and master and more dehumanizing: osu, ume and diala caste systems that discriminate us from identifying, befriending and marrying one another? How come do we defame others by calling them bastards and illegitimate sons and daughters. God tells us today the He is for everyone and not for someone.
(2) *BREAK EVERY BARRIERS OF HATRED*
The society is gradually plunging into sectional, tribal, ethnic, cultural, continental and xenophobic hatred and discrimination. As children of God, who have been given the commandment of love today, we must learn to eschew Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba divisions and hatred amongst us — Orlu, Mbaise, Owerri, Ngwa dichotomy and stimatization. Ours is a religion that sues for love over hatred, peace over anarchy and forgiveness over grudges and let-go over retaliation.
(3) *ALL-INCLUSIVE LOVE REQUIRES SACRIFICE*
No one loves without having the spirit of sacrifice. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice your worth, time, resources, rights, entitlements, pride, dignity and respect, inorder to foster all-inclusive love. Jesus, who calls us to emulate his ideal form of all-inclusive love never failed to sacrificed his Divinity inorder to identify with our humanity.
Finally, a certain man bought an expensive and special apple while coming back from work, one fateful evening. The moment he got home, he changed his mind to sacrifice the apple and give it to his beloved wife who offered him a warm welcome. The moment the wife got it, she felt the warmth of sacrificing it for her only beloved son. When the son got the apple, he said to himself, “oh, I will use this apple to show Daddy how much I love him and reward him for all his sacrifices for the wellbeing and upkeep of the family.” He immediately took the apple to the father with the following words, “Daddy, I love you.” The father took the apple and with tears, sliced it into three for everyone in the family.
What a beautiful scenario? What goes around comes around. ensure you spread and communicate love to all and sundry, without discrimination.
MAY GOD, WHO IS LOVE DEEPEN OUR HEARTS TO LOVE INCLUSIVELY, INDISCRIMINATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY AS HE HAS LOVED US.
*GOD BLESS YOU!*
*FR GERALD MUOKA.*