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The Lord Is My Chef Easter Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Sixth Sunday in the Easter Season, Cycle B, 05 May 2024
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 ><}}}*> 1 John 4:7-10 ><}}}*> John 15:9-17
Photo by author, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC, 22 March 2023.

Imagine that beautiful imagery of Jesus last Sunday, of Him saying “I am the true vine… you are the branches” calling us to remain in Him to be fruitful (Jn.15:1, 5, 8). What a lovely sight to behold are the vines, climbing and winding up or creeping on the ground with its vast network of leaves and stems, tiny tendrils and shoots, flowers and fruits.

Jesus identified Himself with the vine to show us the immensity and profundity of His love for us as this plant species sprawls widely with its strong roots and stem system extending to its branches that reach out to its flowers and clusters of fruits like grapes. It is as if in every turn of the vine, there is so much life, full of love like God who is both Life and Love Himself.

Photo by Dra. Carol Reyes-Santos, MD at Napa Valley in California, September 2023.

And that is the essence of Jesus as He had explained during their Last Supper, showing its meaning on Good Friday when He died on the Cross, summarizing everything on Easter when He rose again and appeared later to His disciples.

It is love, love, and still, love in every turn just like the vine.

In being the true vine, we find God’s immense love for us expressed in His Son Jesus Christ who now tells us clearly to love one another shortly before He showed and proved that love for us on Good Friday at the Cross.

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. This I command you: love one another.”

John 15:9, 12, 17

See how Jesus speaks of and lives in love in every turn in this gospel scene this Sunday which is a continuation of His discourse last week during their Last Supper. Nine times Jesus used the word “love” in nine verses.

He began his discourse by laying down the foundation of this love which is the Father’s love in verse 9: it is in “remaining” in His love that we truly have joy which is more than happiness but firm assurance that no matter what happens to us even in the worst situations including death as Jesus went through, there is always God loving us to the end and beyond.

After that, Jesus twice mentioned love as His commandment to us. Actually, Christ’s command to love one another seems pretty simple, and easy if you say so; but, what He added makes it so difficult – “love one another as I love you.”

That part “as I love you” is the challenge of Jesus to each one of us every day because He loved even unto death, literally and figuratively speaking. We do not need to die literally as martyrs but even dying figuratively speaking is already so difficult when we have to make many sacrifices, when we have to love somebody else more than our very selves!

Loving one another like Christ is more than to “feeling good” because…

  • To love like Jesus is to forget ourselves, to think less of our own good and comfort like a mother despite her being sick would still rise early to prepare her family to school and work or a dad going abroad in order to have food, clothing and shelter for his family.
  • Loving like Christ is giving up our wants and needs, including our dreams sometimes like the many Ate and Kuya who remain single in order to send their younger siblings to school until they graduate and be able to stand on their own.
  • To love like Jesus is to die in our own POV (point-of-view) and other long held beliefs in order to find Christ in everyone especially those different from us or from those who hurt us.

Loving one another like Jesus Christ is choosing the Father above all every day.

Admittedly, to love like Jesus is very difficult indeed but, the good news this Sunday is that it is doable as the beloved disciple explains in the second reading, “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins” (1Jn.4:10).

And the best part of this Sunday’s gospel is when Jesus declared twice He loves us, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you… This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (Jn. 15:9,12).

Wow! Everyone knows so well the deep joy one feels in hearing someone say “I love you”. For as long as it is the true kind of love, these words of “I love you” are not only transformative but also performative because they are powerful, filled with the powers of God that can change us, heal us and inspire us.

The words “I love you” are the nicest and most life-changing things one can always hear but unfortunately we rarely say these words to others because we are afraid of running out of love. The truth is, the more love we give, the more we share love in words and in deeds like Jesus, the more we are filled with His love but by those around us too!

Never say nor claim we cannot love like Christ because we are humans like that cheesy Filipino love song of yore, sapagkat ako’y tao lamang. That ability to love like Jesus is already here in our hearts, in our being, in us because He had lavishly loved us first so that we too can love. Every day Jesus repeats those words of the Last Supper whenever we wake up, telling us, “I love you”.

It was the same experience Peter and later the household of Cornelius have experienced in our first reading when the Holy Spirit came down upon them to fill them with the love of God that prompted Peter to realize earlier how “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34), meaning, God loves everyone lavishly regardless of color, gender, and creed. The problem is with us when we love only those “like us”; hence, the need to remain in Christ to be able to find Him in everyone.

Let us immerse ourselves into that amazing reality that we are personally loved by Jesus as we pray:

Dearest Jesus:
let me remain in Your love
so I may learn to forget myself,
set aside my plans and agenda
so that I may love like You 
by keeping Your commandments,
laying down my life for others,
echoing Your very words of
"I love you"
to those who hardly know You
because they have 
never felt being loved
as they suffer alone in
 diseases, poverty, and injustice;
let me bask in Your love, Lord
to lead others back to You 
in my loving service and kindness
especially those who have lost faith 
in You and humanity.
Amen.
Photo by Natalie Bond on Pexels.com
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