May 19, 2019
This Sunday’s (Easter 5) collect (opening prayer) is beautiful:
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life:
Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be
the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow
his steps in the way that leads to eternal life…
To know God is everlasting life. How simple, yet how mysterious. Relationship. Truly to know is to be in relationship. If I simply let myself be drawn into relationship with the One who is love, Source of all goodness, I live “happily ever after.” Everlasting life, however, is not the “afterlife”—as we may sometimes think. Everlasting life begins here and now, hidden deeply in our souls, and it is made manifest when we love one another, as Christ loves us.
In this Sunday’s gospel, John 13, the Last Supper, Jesus gives the new commandment:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
He gives the new commandment after speaking of glory and of “leaving” the disciples. In a sense, glory is everlasting life. In commanding divine love (the only love that can be commanded!), Jesus teaches us the secret to participating already in everlasting life and manifesting it in our lives. When we love one another with this mysterious love, heaven begins.
The tough question, however, is: how willing are we to love in this way? It is a gift, but it must be met with willingness, with a “yes.” Sometimes, we would rather not. It seems too demanding, like unappealing new territory, and we do like our familiar ways. Let us, at least, acknowledge any hesitation or indifference, those times when we simply would rather not. Such an acknowledgment opens the door to our hearts to grace. Let us take a simple step in reaching out to another person in service and the Hoy Spirit will do the rest.
Yours in the Source,