Father Saga’s Gospel Reflection : Sunday May 17, 2020

If We love God, We will keep His Commandments

Easter season is nearing its end and the Church recommends us to listen to the words of Jesus addressed to the Apostles. Since we too are his disciples, his words apply to us equally.

John, the evangelist, offers us today a taste of the discourse given by Jesus during the last Supper. The teachings of Jesus, repeated on that occasion, are particularly important and precious. And Jesus wants that his words are not forgotten.

But what do the words of Jesus actually say? Well, Jesus begins his discourse by saying: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” and then concludes by reiterating: “Whoever accepts my commandments and keeps them, is the one who loves me”.

Reading the words of Jesus, we get the impression of being in front of a circle formed by the words Love and Commandments. In fact, they are closely linked, because without love, the commandments make no sense. I cannot live the way our Lord asks me to live, if I do not have in my heart love for him and my brethren.

On the other hand, I cannot show a concrete sign of my love for Jesus, if I don’t live my life according to the way he has suggested to me. Living according to the commandments, that is – living according to the heart of God, means manifesting my love for him. But if I didn’t have love in my heart, I would never be able to find the strength to accept his invitations. Let us explain this in the following manner.

Let’s think of an example which we often notice in the lives of school children. We are always used to dealing with children at home and we ourselves were children once, right? Therefore it is easy to get the point that the following simple conversation is trying to make.

One day, little Linda, returning home from school, repeats many times to her mother:
“Mom, I love you! I love you so much! I missed you at school! I love being with you!”
Of course, her Mom is very happy to hear these words.
Now, soon after these beautiful expressions, if little Linda throws her shoes away in a corner of the living room and leaves them there, without even noticing how her mother collects the shoes and takes them to their place, what can we tell of her behaviour?
What’s more? After having a snack, Linda starts playing and her mother asks her: “Linda, put away the juice and the biscuits, please”.
And Linda, without stopping to play, says: “Later! Now I’m playing!”
Time passes, but Linda has not put back the things and continues to play.
The mother, tired of waiting, puts back the things and then calls her:
“Look, it’s time for homework! Take your school diary and let’s see what you need to do … ”
Linda, snorts by saying: “Now I’m playing! I want to finish!”
Mom invites her several times, until she gets angry and scolds her.
Linda is offended, whines, makes a lot of outbursts, like:
“And it’s not fair! I’m tired now after school, I don’t want to do my homework … ”
She keeps on screaming for a long time and wasting time in the meantime.

Let us stop the story here. Let us ask ourselves a question: where did all the sweet words, that little Linda said to her mother, go?
The little girl really felt in her heart so much affection and love for her Mom. She was sincere, when they exchanged cuddles, but then a little later her affectionate words slowly disappeared from her behaviour. All her sense of affection for her Mom, slowly became tarnished by her laziness, whims, grumbles, listlessness, disobedience …

Dear brethren, similar thing can happen to us, both in the family and towards God.
Whenever we pray in the Church and participate in the Holy Mass, often we tell God how much we love him, how happy we are to have him as a Good Father … but then a little later when we go back home, get back to our work places etc., we often tend to behave in unchristian and uncharitable ways, thus we risk becoming people of double-standard and dishonesty.

As a reaction to this story, a boy remarked: “But then, if I love someone dearly, why should I feel the weight of fatigue, the annoyance of doing things that I don’t like,…?”. Oh! That’s quite a serious question, because it really touches the heart of our actions.

You know what? If I love, fatigue does not actually disappear. The cost of doing something will continue to cost me. But my way of dealing with them changes. In other words, deep in my soul, I can say to myself: “This thing costs me, but since I love you, I do it even if I don’t particularly like it!”

Dear parishioners, the commandments of God are sometimes difficult to accept, because they demand much from us and hard to live by them. Jesus asks us, for example, to forgive which is not an easy thing to do. But then since he asks me and I love him, I will try to do it! In other words, although it is really hard to be friendly with those who are rude to me, and yet since I love Jesus, I will try to do it. Precisely this is the circle that unites love and commandments together: they cannot be separated.

Let us begin this sixth week of Easter, with full of the desire to demonstrate our love for the Lord Jesus by fully accepting his Commandments and living by them. In this way we will fulfill his words: “Whoever accepts my commandments and keeps them, is the one who loves me”.

Fr Sagayaraj Devadoss