10 May 2015
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
Jesus in today’s gospel reading speaks of the essence of Christianity with his words to his disciples: As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Our faith originates with the fact that we are beloved children of God and therefore Jesus encourages us to believe in God’s love for us: Remain in my love.
One may ask the question, how do we remain in the love of Jesus? The Lord responds by saying: If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love. As believers in God’s love towards us, we therefore do not accept the Lord’s commandments as a burden or a list of prohibitions, but rather as words of life, that help free us from the influences of evil, selfishness and the material world. The commandments of the Lord offer us light and wisdom from above and provide us with lasting and true joy. All that Christ asks of us is to love God by loving our neighbor. Our vocation as followers of Christ is to live by the rule of love, thereby avoiding cunning, rivalry, envy and harming others.
In showing love towards one’s neighbor Jesus is our best example, for he said love one another as I have loved you! This means loving selflessly, generously and sacrificially, for this is the way he has loved us, who laid down his own life on the cross for all of mankind. True friendship therefore involves a willingness to give one’s life to others: No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. To lay down one’s life, is the highest expression of love, which can be summarized in another single word, in its verb form – to give. It is when we are more giving that we are closer to God and one another. Each of us has something to give to others, whether food, drink, clothes, time, material and spiritual support, encouragement, forgiveness, hope, our knowledge and faith experience. All of these things we can give without measure, for their should be no limits to the ways in which we love one another. God’s free gift of grace enables and encourages us to give of ourselves and our lives for the good of others. In this we find purpose, peace and joy for our lives in this world and look forward to eternal happiness in heaven.