Sixth Sunday in Easter

IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ULTIMATE LOVER

By Leanna Cappiello

There is no doubt that the word “love” is over-used in our society today. We liberally toss the word around, “I love that decor,” “I love a good cigar,” “I am in love with this country!” If we are aware of how we use this word, carelessly or consciously, we might know where our hearts lie. And if we are honest with ourselves, many of these places are shallow. Would you really lay your life down for a nice apartment, a down-feather pillow, a slice of pizza? I think we humans are capable of a deeper love than this.

So, what is love? A better question is, “Who is love?” In today’s second reading, we hear “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…. for God is love.” God isn’t just a source of love, He IS love. What does this mean for us?

It means we are invited into a relationship – personally and intimately – with Love itself. Similar to a human relationship, people need communication, affection, care, concern, openness, wonder, a deep longing to just be together. Jesus knows our human hearts and divine desires, and wants us to receive, learn from, and reciprocate love in return.

One might argue that we can love without knowing a God. And though we might learn to love from other humans (parents, guardians, friends, siblings, partners), this love has a source beyond human understanding. There are times when we will fall short of loving each other. We need an endless bounty from which to draw from to be nourished, encouraged, and loved for ourselves. It is appropriate that we would not seek to know love through an object, place or imaginary thing. Rather, we seek a Being, someone who has lived and still lives. It is only right that we are in relationship with this Love so that we might pour out continuously and without ceasing. What better way to know love but from God who is Love?

The Love we know is radical and unconditional, and we are invited into it. The gospel challenges us to recognize the deeper root of love in God and carry it into our earthly relationships: “to love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.