Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
To be Chosen
Most of us have experienced deep and abiding love from our parents, wives or husbands, children or from close friends. This is pure gift because we can’t force a person to love us. Love is freely given. In a sense we “choose” our loved ones because of attraction to each other or in family relationships. They, in turn, “choose us.” This love is mutual. In the gospel for today Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”
Last week we reflected on the vine and the branches and the fruit that comes from them. If the plant does not yield good fruit it will be cut away from the others that do bear good fruit. Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” We have to do our part so that we bear “fruit” in all of our loving relationships. This is especially true if we are in a relationship with our loving, compassionate God who chose us before we were born. It is up to us to respond and choose to be in this relationship with God. God will never force us to respond but will continue to invite and love us into a mutual relationship.
Once we say yes to a love relationship with God we are bound to share that love with others. God not only chose us out of love but also expects us to share that love with others through service. Jesus says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” We may never be asked to physically lay down our lives but real love does involve sacrifice for others. I was privileged to know Dorothy Kazel who did lay down her life for others. I was with her and some other friends for a whole day on a pontoon boat shortly before she returned to El Salvador for the last time. She showed us some photos of three catechists who were murdered and their bodies thrown in front of the convent. We asked how she could return when she knew she was in danger. She responded that she loved the people and couldn’t abandon them when they were in need. She certainly knew what was meant by “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
What kind of service can we offer? Our world is rife with human needs. We don’t have to look beyond our own local communities to know that people are hungry for food, housing, support, kindness, etc. Each one of us knows what we are able to contribute, but contribute we must! Jesus says, “It was I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” What kind of “fruits” will we offer to others? Those of us who are vaccinated against the Covid 19 virus now have an opportunity to visit someone who is lonely or sick. We can do grocery shopping for the house bound. We can deliver meals to someone in need. The list is endless. If you are physically unable to do anything for others you can always pray for them. Remember – Love is freely given!
How do you show your love and gratitude to those who love you?
What service can you offer to others, especially those in need?