May 17, 2009
EASTER VI (B)
I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. – John 15: 11
Even people who do not belong to a religion or believe in a personal God sense that there is a higher order of things, & that human well-being depends upon people aligning themselves with that order. To be separated from this higher order is to be lost; to participate in this order is to be found.
For Christians, this higher order is a proactive love that is embodied & revealed in Jesus. People do not have to search for it as if it were not searching for them. Also, the rules are simple. People must learn to live in their sphere in the way this proactive love lives. Story about a king riding in a coach on a rainy day:
The king sees a poor man walking on the road & desires to give him a ride. But the man is leery. “What must I do to get this ride,” he asks. “Only accept it,” says the king.
You see, the key to relating to the higher order is to learn to receive its love. But the king’s response is only half accurate. Once the love is accepted, a chain reaction takes place. As Jesus received the love of the Father, He loved His disciples with that same love. This is not an isolated moment but a state of affairs. The disciples, in turn, will abide in Jesus’ love if they keep his commandment, which is the same as the Father’s commandment: love as you have been loved.
The purpose of this revelation of how the higher order works is joy. Jesus’ joy is to pour the love He has received from the Father into His disciples. Therefore, they share not only the love but the joy of the love giver. In turn, you only understand what you have received when you give it away. If people grasp & understand themselves as links in the love chain, they move from anxious, separate living into holy communion. There is no need to grab, or hold, or possess this life, as if it were a scarce commodity. It is abundant beyond measure.
But how can we actually experience ourselves as chosen for love? James P. Mackey has some interesting things to say about how Jesus passed on the experience of the Father’s love:
“In the end, the only way to give people the experience of all life & existence as enabling & inspiring grace, the only way to give them the experience of being themselves grace & treasure, it to treat them as treasure & be gracious to them. I simply will not feel my own life, my own self, as grace or gift of God, unless someone values me.”
Choose one person who has loved you, cherished you, treated you like treasure, & see in that person a revelation of the universal love of God, even if their all too human love was inadequate or incomplete. Do not treat all people & events equally. Some people are sacramental carriers of divine love. They are the voice in the wilderness that not only prepares the way for the love of the Lord but provides it. It does not matter HOW we enter into the love chain. It only matters THAT we enter into it. AMEN!