May 17, 2020: A Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year A

John 14:15-21

Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. (John 14:20)

This is not how we usually think of expressing love, Jesus: doing what you ask of us. If we had our way, it would be something a little warmer and fuzzier. Yet you equate the two in today’s gospel and even offer the Holy Spirit, the bond of love between you and the Father, to remain with us as friend and Advocate to not only hold your commandments in our hearts but to observe them in what we do. And that, you say, is what distinguishes the fact that we love you. Not love as how we feel, as wonderful as that can be, but love as doing what you have asked. Some might call it obedience, and that it is, and you call that obedience love. You even offer us the Spirit as seal of that love.

When we truly love someone, our center- point of reference shifts from ourselves to the one we love. We’ve all experienced it in some form or another and we see it lived out every day in the world around us. And so a relationship based on two hearts making the center of their being the other heart is born and lived out. And another name for this relationship is love. Could this be what you are talking about, Jesus? To live in relationship with you beyond our ego-driven wants and desires and make you the center – all the time knowing that you, in turn, are relating to us in the same movement of wanting only what is the very best for us in that which you ask of us.

Jesus, it would make it a lot easier if we could actually see your face super-imposed over the one who asks something of us. Is that why you say you are giving us the Spirit? So that the eyes of our hearts are opened to see you in the other person? “The world will no longer see me, but YOU will see me, because I live and you will live. Live in the heart of each person.” And as you say, Jesus, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” What a description of love you offer us! Love as relationship expressed in faith.

You give a tall order to little people, Lord. But the obedience of faith that you ask of us and to which we are vowed is born of relationship. And that is why we “Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving” as Khalil Gibran so beautifully expressed it. In the end, it is all you and it is all love.