Brothers and Sisters:
May is such a wonderful month. We celebrate our children, our teachers and today especially, we celebrate our Mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers.
I now share with you from the Gospel reading for today, John 14:15-21:
This passage picks up where last week’s reading left off. Jesus continues to deliver his Farewell Discourse (Chapters 14-17), preparing his disciples for his departure and their receipt of the Holy Spirit.
In this brief but powerful passage, Jesus reiterates his favorite theme: Love.
He also promises the Holy Spirit.
Finally, Jesus emphasizes the intimate unity of Jesus, God, the Spirit, and the believer.
Fifty-seven times Jesus uses love verbs (agapao, phileo). Add to that all of the occurrences of “friend” (which is the translation of philos) as well as the fact that the primary disciple in the Fourth Gospel is an unnamed character called “the beloved disciple,” and we might accuse the author of touting a single issue. And why not, for is it not the case that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”? (3:16).
The passage begins and ends with love. In v. 15 Jesus declares that if his disciples love him, they will keep his commandments. The reader may ask, “What commandments?” Unlike, say, Matthew, nowhere in John does Jesus command us to go the second mile, turn the other cheek, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Famously, Jesus gives only a single commandment in John and it occurs in the chapter just before ours: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (13.34-35).
He reiterates this in the chapter just after ours: “This is my commandment, that you 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. (John 15:12-13). We see, then, the overwhelming, repetitive, circular emphasis on love.
How fitting therefore to be celebrating our Mothers with love.