Dear brothers and sisters,
Following Christ is not complicated. In fact, today Jesus reduces the essence of what it means to be his follower into one sentence. This sentence is his New Commandment, a commandment that summarizes everything he has taught: “Love one another as I have loved you”: if we do that, we are on Christ’s path, and we will experience the joy and meaning that only God can giv
e. To make it even simpler (because he knows that we tend to complicate things unnecessarily), Jesus explains exactly what he means by the word “love,” a word the Devil is always trying to distort: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” In other words, love is self-giving, and so, the greater the self-giving, the greater the love. When we put our lives at the service of others, when we live in order to give and not to take, when we are willing to suffer so that someone else can rejoice, then we may call ourselves his disciples. Yet Jesus went even further in order to make sure we would understand. He didn’t explain the meaning of true love just with words; he also explained it with his deeds, with his own suffering and death. He accepted mockery, humiliation, torture, rejection, injustice, misunderstanding, betrayal, and finally death, not because he was too weak to resist, but to show us what love really is: self-giving, self-forgetful generosity. Jesus Christ hanging on the cross; bearing the weight of our sins; thinking not of himself but of the men and women he came to save, even pleading for their forgiveness up until the very end; giving without counting the cost, even without asking for something in return – this is God’s idea of love. It is ours?
Congratulations to our children receiving First Holy Communion this weekend, and to their parents and families. Many thanks to our catechists and to the parents for your diligent preparation of these children for this special moment in their lives and for the Church. Please pray for them as they continue to grow in the love of Christ every day.