Daily Reflection
May 17th, 2001
Tom Shanahan
Rector, Jesuit Community
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Acts 15:7-21
Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 10
John 15:9-11

As we continue to journey through the readings for the Easter Season, I am struck especially by the emphasis on the central role of the Risen Christ and the challenges that such a focus offers.  In today’s gospel reading from St. John, we are immersed in what is a key issue for John and his gospel:  the expression of the relationship between Jesus and the Father.  John seems to be at pains in his entire gospel to articulate the identity between the two:  everything that Jesus is and has is from the Father.

Here it is focused on love.  Jesus tells us plainly that love is the link between him and God and between you and me and God.  “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”  What and who Jesus is gets captured in the relationship of love between him and God.  Jesus is who he is because of the love of God that is the very core of his being.

When Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love” he spells out the parallel with us.  Just as the very core of who Jesus is rests on the love of God, so for us:  the very core of our being is the fact that we are related to Christ (and thus to God) through love.

To keep his commandments and thus, to remain in his love is what we are about as persons baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Is that a burden?  Love is always a sweet burden, but Jesus already shares that burden with us through the cross and resurrection.  John’s gospel seems to be telling us that the link between us and Jesus is the source of any power we have to love and to live our lives in any way like his.

Our goal then, is that we imitate Christ in the sense that we receive as Jesus received from the Father and that we acknowledge Jesus and the Father as the very source of our life – just as Jesus does in John’s gospel.  Let us make it our prayer today that we be open to that love and that power which comes ultimately from God and that we may be today – this day the instruments of that love in our own way in our limited world.

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