Remain in My Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 5, 2024 Sixth Sunday of Easter - John 15:9-17

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I begin this reflection with the opening words of Jesus recorded in this Sunday’s gospel. They are among the most important words he ever said. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.” That is a profound summary of the truth that inspires the entirety of the Bible. They also form the foundation for your life and mine. In fact, all that lives, that ever were, that exist right now and will be in the future.  


We are all created because we are loved by God. And we are shown how to live responding to that love through the example of Jesus. Our task is to believe this and accept being unconditionally loved by God. And live each day in response to that love. We are loved into life by God who intentionally created each of us, and will love you and me forever. This is not a generalized love, like one may have for a favorite team or cause, but one that is personal. God knows you and God knows me and despite our weaknesses, failures and faults God persistently loves each of us.

Now add to this truth about our origins a thought from the much-respected scientist and theologian, Thomas Berry (1914-2009). “The universe, by definition, is a single glorious celebratory event.” This means that all God’s creation is an enactment and expression of God’s love. Which leads us to our valuing all creation and preserving it as God intends.


Of course, we all can admit that everything does not always seem good, and much of what happens in our world does not seem “loving.” There are abundant reasons for possibly denying the presence of God’s love in our world. Recall that Jesus on the cross expressed doubt about God’s presence and love for him. He felt abandoned and alone. Just as we do when times get tough and positive explanations of what’s happening in our lives fail us. Clearly, we all experience both ups and downs, successes and failures, good days and even some terrible ones. So “remaining in God’s love” is far from simple or easy. But that’s also a clue to its importance.


Almost everything in our lives that is really important often requires our most strenuous effort. There are times when all of us are “stretched to our limits.” When the only way to continue is to take up our burden, our cross, and follow Jesus. Biblical scholars call such words “the hard sayings of Jesus.” Like when he said that we should love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. How difficult is that? This is not feel-good religion. Words that have most touched me in this regard are those at the end of the musical version of  Les Miserables: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

David M. Thomas, PhD     

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