1 Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
When I was five years old, my Grandma, Margarita, had to chase me around the house in order to wash my hands before every meal or brush my teeth before bed. This was not an easy task for an older woman who had to take care of two other children, my younger and older sister. She tried everything from loving words to all sorts of intimidations. Nothing, however, would work with me.
One day, in the midst of one my usual tantrums, once she caught me to wash my hands, I vehemently asked her, why do I have to wash my hands before every meal! You have to wash your hands because it is good for you, she responded to my complaints in a firm manner. I’m sure she went on telling me about cleanliness and health and the usual explanations that a mischievous five year-old needs to hear. That line, however, captured my attention. There and then I understood. I wash my hands because it is good for me. It’s good for me!
Even to this day, I can recall that incident because those words touched something very deep in me. I understood those words beyond just protecting myself from illness or for social appearances. I understood those words from the perspective of love. Because I love myself, I must do what is good. I understood why I had to be obedient to my Grandmother. I followed those rules out of love.
Keeping God’s Commandments also comes from the experience of love. No wonder the Evangelist invites us in this Sixth Sunday of Easter to remain in God’s love. Our faithfulness as followers of Christ is not a contract. Obedience is the response that emanates from our encounter with God’s transforming love, who, moreover, has loved us first, as the first letter of John reminds us.
May God’s transforming love continue to make of us ever more faithful followers, especially, as we seek to seek to build solidarity with the poor, the oppressed and those often forgotten by our societies.
Hugo R. Esparza-Pérez, C.P. is member of Holy Cross Province currently working in Mexico.