Sunday VI of Eastertide



Ac 8,4-13:                     

1P 3,15-17:                  

Jn 14,15-31:                  



Today we hear the Gospel of concreteness, one that reminds us that love “lives” in our actions, in our concrete behaviour and, above all, that the commandments are not only bonds or burdens to carry but signs and instruments of this love.


The Lord says to us: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me”, in this way showing the how both faith and love enter into our life. To begin with, there is an experience of knowing, when someone, either by word or example, announces the Kingdom of God and a manner of life or way of being in the world that reflects this mystery. The commandments are the way in which we give concrete form to the great love that God gives to us, in the small and tangible events of life. The commandments communicate with us not in the manner of imposing a rule but to set before us a way of life to be freely accepted; this is the greatness of a God who does not want slaves about Himself but sons, those who love freely.


Acceptance of the Gospel can confine itself to enthusiasm or to the praise of some edifying example, with the serious risk of making ineffective the gift that God gives us. The observance of the commandments, before it is ever an act of obedience to a law, is a way of Christian living that gives concrete expression to the Gospel in our lives. The Christian life, in fact, is not an abstract and intangible thing, it is not a misty ideal or something than can properly be relegated to the abstract. It is instead a thing to be loved, something to be tried and out into practice. It is the way in which each person (as Pope Francis repeatedly invites us) participates, in virtue of their baptism, in the evangelising mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples. Long speeches and particular talents are not necessary so as to proclaim the Gospel: it is enough to live as a Christian, to show that Christian life according to the commandments is not only feasible but is the happiest and most deeply human life that we can live.  


The examination of conscience directed at the commandments is a useful enterprise in this respect; it is the way that we place ourselves and our entire lives before God and, above all, the way in which we become aware of which “laws” really govern our daily lives, which really inspire our manner of acting. In this respect, the commandments are like “mirrors” that reflect back the true image of our lives in comparison to the life that Jesus holds out to us. It heartens us in the good that we do and spurns us to make progress where we are weaker.


This is also the way to “give a reason for the hope” that is in us, which we do by a full witness of life. True, the reason we give has a “doctrinal” content, since it is necessary to know the basic tenets of the faith, the columns upon which our faith rests, the so-called fides quae, that is to say the content of the faith (the Catechism and its compendium give a clear and accessible presentation of it to anyone who might want to know it).


That being said, giving a reason for the faith is not so much an intellectual enterprise, as if we were invited to get involved in an intellectual discussion, as giving an account of our faith by our lives, by sincerity, courage, charity. We can recall that beautiful passage in the Letter of Saint James: “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith” (Jm 2: 18). This is an excellent motto and an invitation to every Christian.


Finally, our thoughts run to Our Lady, asking through her intercession that we might be able to know how to welcome the many calls that God is continually directing our way, that we may be always open to better understand how our lives are united to Christ in every respect, since, being baptised, we bear his name.