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Easter – 6th Sunday
If you give your child everything he wants, is that love? What many times has been considered affection is really spoiling, but not loving, and you destroy a child’s mindset by making him prefer only a world of personal comfort and selfish desires.
Seeing a neighbor doing wrong but saying nothing about it – is it love? Maybe it is fear or cowardice, but certainly not love. Soon your neighbor will move on to worse things and you will be a regretful witness to his personal decay.
If a family member drifts steadily into vices and you ignore it, can you say it is love?  At best it is indifference, but that cannot qualify for love. Soon you will lose grasp of the very person you want to keep close to your heart.
There are some things we consider as love, which really run short of the very essence of love. For in many cases, we fail to understand the very things we think we already do.  That is why we need to turn to the Lord today and ask for his grace and guidance to know and live what true love is.
In the gospel of John (15:9-17), Jesus reminds us again to remain in his love, a love that brings complete and lasting joy. The key to do so?  “Love one another as I love you.”  And he illustrates this even further:  “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  How that reminds us of the very concrete action Jesus did on the cross when he proved to us his undying love and commitment for our good.  True love, therefore is not in giving in to everything the other wants, or glossing over another’s faults or insouciance to the dangers awaiting a wayward person.
True love happens when a person is willing to get involved, to sacrifice personal comfort and reputation, to stake everything for the purpose of saving another from real peril.  How very far from our common notion of love that is mostly softness and acquiescence to the pleasure of the people we love. Jesus’ love was not soft or convenient love but tough and painful love.  It is to this kind of love that Jesus invites us to enter and to share with others.
Sure there will be difficulty when we do this.  It is not pleasant to tell another person of his excesses, or to warn him that he is ruining his own life.  It is not good to feel that you have hurt another’s feelings because of your concern for his future.  And it is definitely not comfortable to feel a person’s ire on you because you dared to challenge him to righteousness.  But Jesus’ words ring true, we must “lay down our lives” for our beloved.
Mothers are experts in loving, though not all, of course.  But the self-sacrifice of most wives and mothers show how sensitive and obedient they are to the words of the Lord.  Let us pray for our mothers and all mothers that they may be true to their vocation as beacons of true love in a world that is increasingly oblivious of its true meaning.  Mary, mother of Christ and of all believers, pray for us.