FR. GERALD MUSA HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: LOVE REVOLUTION
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 15 2022
In the history of the world, there is a long list of revolutions. The word Revolution comes from the Latin word Revolutio, which means to turn things around. Most revolutions usher major change in the political, social, and economic orders. One of the revolutionary leaders in Africa, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso said: “You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on old formulas, and the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity.”
Jesus is the greatest and most influential revolutionary who changed the world order without using guns and bombs. He simply brought a radical message of love that changed the face of the world. He taught his followers to go beyond practicing the reciprocal law of love, which says, love those who love you; do good to those who are good to you, and lend your money to those who lend you theirs. Jesus reversed this form of love by challenging his followers to love unconditionally (cf. Luke 6:27-36). The central theme of his revolution is “To make all things new” (Revelation 21:5) and this was why he gave a new commandment. Jesus, the peaceful revolutionary, initiated a revolution of the heart by turning the hearts of people toward God and away from selfishness toward selflessness. The Book of Revelation talks about a vision of creating “a new heaven and a new earth.” This new heaven and earth are not limited to beautifying our cities, but about developing a community towards love and peace.
During his farewell supper, Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 13:34). One would be quick to ask if this is a new commandment what happened to the Ten Commandments God gave to the people of Israel? Jesus answered this question in another: “I have not come to abolish the laws of Moses, but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). He summarised those commandments into two: a committed love for God and a selfless love of neighbour (Matthew 22:37).
Furthermore, during the Last Supper and just before his suffering and death, Jesus said: “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him, God is glorified” (John 13:31). These words of Jesus redefine glory not in terms of having political power, fame, or wealth. His glory emanates from that sacrificial love, which led him to shed his blood for others. Thus, his message to us is that the pursuit of wealth, fame, and power only leads to vainglory and the pursuit of genuine and sacrificial love leads to real and eternal glory. In his calculation, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Therefore, when Jesus says, “Love one another” he invites us to live for one another, support one another, encourage one another, share, be patient with one another, be kind to one another and be considerate to one another. According to St. Catherine Laboure, to love is “To see God in everyone.” Very often we are unwilling to love because love makes us vulnerable and responsible. Love is also demanding, costly, and often involves self-emptying. It demands honesty and sincerity and it is unconditional. However, nothing else makes life more meaningful and worth living than love. To live happily is to love to the end, to love till death.
Justin Martyr wrote about how the early Christians understood and translated love into action. He said:
“We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
Our prayer is, God, help us to love another as you have loved us. Let us heed the instruction of St. John of the Cross, which says, “Where there is no love, put love – and you will find love.”
5th Sunday of Easter; Acts 14:21b-27; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-33a, 34-35