Deacon Bob’s Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Cycle B

6th Sunday of Easter

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35,44-48; 1John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17

May 4/5, 2024

I have chosen you. I have loved you. Remain in my love. These, I think, are at the core of what Jesus is saying to us today in the Gospel. It can be quite daunting to think about obeying the first and the greatest of all the commandments — Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself — unless you begin to understand and accept that God has chosen you, and has loved you, and he wants you to remain in his love. So, let’s try to begin today.

We must start with our goodness and God’s desire for us. God has chosen you! He wants you because he created you good. He has a plan for you. He thinks about you all the time. He desires you. He wills you into life every second of every day. You exist only because God chooses you. He recognizes that you were created good and God wants what is good, so he chooses you. In his perfect freedom he chooses you. This is almost incomprehensible. Why would God want you? Why would he want someone so frail, sinful, broken, confused, and afraid? Why? He chooses  you because you were created good, and God wanted for all eternity in your goodness.  He is willing you into life, so you may be with him for all eternity. You are individually desired and chosen by God.

We have to wrap our mind around the reality that God has not only chosen you but he has loved you. That is the second piece. God wants what is good for you. He wants what is really good, the best of all goods, not some lesser good. In other words, God wants you to have him because God is the best of all goods. He loves you so much that he wants to give Himself to you personally. He loves you so much that he became the Son of Man so you may be united to him. God wants you to be able to obtain him, to obtain God for all eternity. He wants you to choose him, and he enables you to do this through the Church, the sacraments, and the infusion of grace and the Holy Spirit into your life. He has given you all you need. In other words, you are loved by God through the Church, the sacraments, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Did you ever think of that?

Finally, we must remain in God’s love. We must stay in love with him just as he is in love with us. We must want to give God our best.  If we accept our chosenness, our belovedness, then we can be in love. We can relax and live in love. That’s why Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden light. Anyone man has fallen in love with a woman — or woman with a man — has experienced this on a human level. “This man/woman has chosen me and loves me! I live constantly in love,” we think. No matter what may be happening in life, especially when times are tough, if we are convinced that we are chosen and loved, then we will be able to stay in love. Stay in love through it all. I often have thought about this in my own life. On a spiritual level, whatever happens around me or in me, I can remain at peace and in love because God has chosen me from all eternity, and he loves me. 

All of us have experienced the opposite of all this in our lives. We all have experienced rejection (the opposite of being chosen) and being unwanted (the opposite of being seen as good). Anyone who has been the victim of divorce knows what I mean, i.e., being “not chosen” and “not loved” by your spouse. So, too, anyone who has been abused and then thrown away understands. When these experiences arise, it is very difficult to remain in love, is it not? It is impossible, save for God’s grace. It is difficult to love the person who has done this to you. It even can be difficult to love God. Yet, while this may be someone’s the earthly reality, the spiritual reality can and must be an unshakeable conviction that God has chosen us, and God has loved us, so even when we are rejected and unloved, we can remain in love knowing God has chosen and loved us. We can continue to be in love, not only with God, but even with the person who has rejected us. This is why the saints could forgive those who persecuted them. This is why Jesus could forgive his executioners from the Cross…. Because he knew he was chosen by the Father, loved by the Father, and he remained in love even for his persecutors.

We may object and say, “But I am not a saint! I am not Jesus! I am a sinner and only human!” I think that is a cop out because every saint that lived could have said the same. We all can be saints. Jesus lives within us. We all can remain in love, live in love, in God’s love, if we have first come to know God has chosen us and loved us.

Undoubtedly, this is a great challenge for us. I know from my own life of 68 years. Yet, I will attest, it is possible by accepting God’s love for us and his desire for us. “Remain in my love,” Jesus says.” I call you friends. I chose you. This I command I now give you: remain in my love.”

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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