True love has a universal scope

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THIS is what we can get from the readings of the Mass on the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year B. (cfr. Acts 10,25-26.34-35.44-48; 1Jn 4,7-10; Jn 15,9-17) The true love that can only come and is a sharing of the love God has, will always have a universal scope, irrespective of how we are.

In the first reading, we hear Peter saying that “God is no respecter of persons.” We have to understand that expression correctly, because the first impression we might get from it is that God does not respect, and therefore, does not love persons. On the contrary, what it means, as Peter later clarified, is that “in every nation, he who fears him (God), and works justice, is acceptable to him.

In other words, God does not discriminate against anyone. The only condition that would enable us to share that universal kind of love that God has is when we believe him and follow his will and ways. That’s what is meant when Peter said, “he who fears him and works justice, is acceptable to him.

The second reading from the First Letter of St. John reinforces the same idea when it exhorts us “to love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loves, is born of God and knows God.” And we are enabled to love one another because God “has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him.”

And with Christ, we are given all the means and the power to love one another. In other words, we can learn to love one another because God through Christ has loved us first. In fact, Christ goes to the extent of offering himself completely to us so we can love the way he loves all.

The gospel reading rounds it off by clearly telling us how we can have this kind of love. “As the Father has loved me,” Christ said, “I also have loved you. Abide in my love.” And he continues, further clarifying what is involved in this kind of love. “If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father’s commandments, and do abide in his love.”

Clearly, the secret to be able to have this universal scope of love is to follow Christ, to obey the commandments of God. This truth of our faith should always be in our mind and heart, keeping and nourishing it by frequent meditations on it and endlessly developing the appropriate attitudes and virtues.

We have to learn how to transcend the limitations of the many human and worldly conditionings that we are subject to. While this will always require tremendous effort and discipline, there is no doubt that we can hack it since we also have a spiritual nature that can go beyond these limitations and that can accept God’s grace that would enable us to enter into the supernatural life, nature and power of God.

In short, we need to feel the need to develop a heart like that of Christ, a heart that welcomes and accommodates everyone, irrespective of how they are. It is a universal heart that is concerned only with the salvation of everyone.

We may have severe differences among ourselves in the different aspects of our life, but we just have to reach out to everyone if we want to be like Christ as we should.



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