Fr. Mike’s homily for Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter
Theme: Remain in my love
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Thursday May 6 2021
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
The saints and angels enjoy perfect happiness in heaven. This is because they experience the ‘beatific vision’ of God, which means they see God face to face. In other words, they are in complete union with God. As God’s children, this should be our ultimate desire and goal in life. Although happiness cannot be fully achieved here on earth, nevertheless, it starts here and finds completion and perfection in heaven.
This is what the Lord wants all of us to have. In the Gospel today, He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” And He reveals the way how to attain this joy and happiness even while still on earth: “Remain in my love.” Indeed, He is the true vine, and we are the branches. God is the only source of true happiness. So, when one is with God, he finds happiness. After all, heaven is more of a state of being than a geographical place. It is the state of being with God. This is what the three disciples experienced on Mount Tabor when Jesus was transfigured before their eyes. For a fraction of a second, they experienced heaven when they encountered the presence of God in Jesus.
Furthermore, the Lord Jesus reveals how to remain with Him in love: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” The proof of our love of God is faithful obedience to His commands. This obedience is the way to remain united with Him. A follower who is disobedient cannot be united with his master.
And Jesus has only one commandment: “Love one another as I love you.” The benchmark of this love is Himself. He is not talking about passionate love (eros), familial love (storge), or friendship love (philia). Rather He is referring to selfless and self -sacrificing love (agape): “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
The saints faithfully obeyed and practiced this command all throughout their lives on earth. Truly, they are the friends of Jesus: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” This made them always cheerful and at peace despite all the troubles and tribulations they encounter. The saints are always full of profound joy. Heaven, after all, is not for the gloomy and grouchy people.
A four‐year‐old boy was thrilled to have a new baby brother. On the day the baby was brought home, his Mom told him that his baby brother was a “gift from heavenʺ. But very soon the boy’s enthusiasm turned into exasperation because the baby was always crying. Unable to endure the torture any longer, he asked his mother, ʺMom, are you sure the baby came from heaven?ʺ ʺOf course, my dear,ʺ replied her mother. In a heartbeat, he retorted, ʺNo wonder Jesus got rid of him!ʺ
As long as we are obedient to the command of love, we will surely remain with Jesus. Then we experience complete joy and happiness even while still on earth, for, then, we have become His friends. St. Teresa of Kolkata said, “A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. He gives most who gives with joy.”
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches