HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: CHRISTIAN FORM OF LOVE
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 15 2022
It is never enough to privately profess to know Christ and to be in a stable relationship with God. Those around us and all those we encounter on the path of life must know us for who we are by the things we do, the things that inspire us, the things we say and the motivation behind our approach to life. For every believer, “the love of Christ urges us on” (I Cor 5:14). The Christian form of love makes the difference; the type of love that finds its fullness in the person of Christ. May the Love of God extinguish the hate and intolerance in our hearts; Amen.
In a very delicate moment in His life and mission, Jesus spoke to His disciples about the core of their identity as his followers; “I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:31-33,34-35). Whoever refuses to love refuses Christ and His Gospel. In fact, to refuse love is to directly reject God. Love defines us as Christians; love makes us known and identifies us in the world. One of the greatest temptations for a Christian in the world of today is the constant instigation to hate and revenge. This instigation comes in different ways; through hate speech, inhuman attitudes, religious intolerance, different forms of social discrimination, injustice, domestic feuds, unnecessary tension within the Church itself, etc. Christ Himself suffered some of these ills and was full of love for those who perpetrated them even as He condemned the acts. He wished and prayed that they may be saved and may also share in the merits of His Paschal Mysteries. This attitude of Christ remains the supreme Model of Christian love towards others. The preaching of the Apostles of Christ was centred in leading the people to a change of heart; to cultivate within themselves the type of heart of Christ from where flows the current of love that transforms us and the world. As they went on their missionary journeys, Paul and Barnabas never failed to “put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. We all have to experience many hardships they said before we enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:21-27). To accept, cultivate and practice the Christian Love, one must undergo the process of a change of heart. The old form of heart that seeks revenge, retaliation and that is selfish must be replaced with the form of heart that is powered by the divine energy. The Christian Love can only be lived by that type of “heart that is restless until it rests in God.” Also Christian Love is always tested to prove its superior and divine qualities. In fact, it is always in the face of trials and tribulations that Christian Love is best identified.
The present situation of things globally is one that invites every well-meaning person to pray for a new order of doing things. The Second Reading (Apocalypse 21:1-5) of today speaks of the vision of a New Heaven and a New Earth replacing the old ones, in which “God lives among men and women. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God; his name is God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone.” These New Heaven and the New Earth does not only refer to the eschatological but are also symbolically referring to the transformation that we experience when we live in the love of God. Love renews and recreates. Love makes us understand who we are and who we are called to be. Love opens us up to ourselves, to others and to He who created us out of nothing but out of love. Love remains the proper solution to the many conflicts that abound in the world of today. In the face of these conflicts and contradictions of the Gospel of Love, Jesus invites us today to love. To love is to truly live! The New Heaven and the New Earth also refer to the New World Order we hope and pray for, where we recognise that we share a common Origin and that this common Origin of us all has given us a common nature that must be nurtured in order to be sustained. The New World Order of our dreams is only possible when we adopt the Supreme Principle of Love. Every one of us is invited to participate in building this New World Order by joining this moving, progressive and transformative train.
Lord Jesus, many times and in many places, the world always forces us to forget what it means to be Your disciples and to call God our Father. Inspire us never to forget that only in loving as You commanded us do, are we able to make Your reign palpable in the world, and that a new and better world order is possible through the principle of love; Amen. Happy Sunday;
Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE