Loving Jesus…in Many Ways!
Today’s Gospel selection puts it simply: Jesus invites his disciples to love him in both word and deed. He also reminds them that the Holy Spirit will come and so inflame their hearts and minds that great things will be accomplished by God’s love at work in their lives. What a consolation – and a challenge!
As we note in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas let that Spirit of God’s love work in them and through them…in very different ways! Earlier in their ministry, they had experienced rejection and even persecution — and now, by God working through them, a crippled man was healed and the crowds began to treat them like gods! They tore their garments and were horrified at the thought of human adulation, the garlands of flowers, and much less the idea of sacrifices offered to them.
Paul and Barnabas knew that any power they possessed or good that they were able to accomplish was due to God alone. They took Jesus’ words to heart: “Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love them; we will come to them and make our dwelling with them.” It was God working within Paul and Barnabas that cured the man crippled from birth.
Most likely, God will not work anything quite that astounding in each of us, but like Paul and Barnabas we are invited these Easter days to realize that God lives and acts in us…as we love Jesus with our whole person. Whatever good we do or evil we overcome is the result of the presence and action of God within us.
As Easter People and as Passionists, we are called to give praise to God alone who works wonders in our lives, and in our world. May God bless us with grateful and generous hearts, afire with the Spirit of Love enfleshed in Jesus Crucified!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.