This weekend we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter. Like last Sunday, the Gospel passage from John is short: six sentences again, but a bit lengthier. Jesus, in his final discourse, gives the disciples a new commandment as he tells them that he will only be with them a little while longer. The new commandment is: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Jesus is speaking to the disciples at the Last Supper. Soon they will know and understand the depth of his love. Jesus is calling them deeper into discipleship as he prepares to leave them. The depth of love to which he calls the disciples and each of us has no limits. We must love whomever God sends into our lives, and wherever God leads us in our various vocations. We must love in spite of how others treat us. We must love when we are in pain and even when people reject us or persecute us. Jesus is not talking about a feeling or an emotion. He is talking about a choice we make to love others as he has loved us. That kind of love often requires sacrifice. We are known as Christ’s disciples by the way in which we love one another. In the early Christian communities, people recognized this love as unique to Christians. People at the time remarked, “See how they love one another.” I wonder how “outsiders” perceive the members of the Body of Christ today. Do we realize that only in love are we able to be true to living out our call as members of the Body of Christ? Only in love are we given the grace to find unity in our diversity as many parts of the one Body.
We are in the mist of our second week of the Catholic Services Appeal. This year’s theme is: “Many Parts: One Church.” How is love compelling us to respond to CSA this year? We are many parts; we are stronger when we are working together. How do you think that the new commandment Jesus presents to his disciples and each of us in today’s Gospel coincides with our responsibility to support CSA? All gifts, no matter the size, make a difference. When one member fails to do his or her part, the Body of Christ suffers. Hopefully you noted that there are several ways to make a CSA pledge this year, the newest being an online pledge. If you are not making your pledge online, you may drop it in the collection, mail it to the parish office, drop it off to the parish office, place it in either parish mail box (469 Shattuck Road or 3055 Harrison Street). For those who have already made a pledge, I thank you for your generosity and attentiveness to the needs of the whole Church.
Blessings on your Easter Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ