Reflection – 17 May 2020 (6th Sunday of Easter, Year A)

Obey God’s Commandments (John 14:15-21)

Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” A command comes from someone who is a leader or a boss. Those who receive a command are the slaves or servants or followers. They have to obey the command of their leader or boss whether they like it or not. If they don’t obey, they will be punished. We are the servants of God or the followers of Jesus Christ. So we have to obey our God. Unlike the other leaders or bosses, Jesus commands us to love Him and to love one another. He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Are we going to be punished if we don’t obey His commands? God will not punish us because God is love. We will be punished by our own disobedience. When we fail to love, we punish ourselves. Those who have no love in their hearts are not able to live happily because their hearts are filled with hatred and unforgiveness.

According to the recent psychological studies, it shows that holding unforgiveness can lead to depression. It can fill us with resentment, make us cynical and even affect our physical health. But people who practice forgiveness tend to be healthier and more at peace. So the more we follow Jesus’ teaching, the more we benefit as well.

There was a story about a love of a man to his wife. The Lord was so tired of a man’s prayer that he appeared to him one day and said, “I have decided to grant you any three things you ask for. After that, I shall give you nothing more.” The man delightedly made his first petition at once. He asked that his wife should die so that he could marry a better woman. His petition was granted. But when friends and relatives gathered in the funeral and began to recall all the good qualities of his wife, the man realized that he had been hasty. He now realized he had been quite blind to all her virtues. Was he likely to find another woman quite as good? So he asked the Lord to bring her back to life. He did. That left him with one petition. And he was determined not to make mistake this time, for he would have no chance to correct it. He consulted widely. Some of his friends advised him to ask for immortality. But of what good was immortality, said others, if he had not have good health? And of what use was health if he had no money? And of what use was money if he had no friends? Years passed and he could not make up his mind what to ask for: Life or Health or Wealth or Power? Finally, he said to the Lord, “Please, advise me on what to ask for.” The Lord laughed when he saw the man’s predicament, and said, “Ask to be contented no matter what life brings you.”

Jesus knew that the Father loved him. He responded by loving the father. He showed his love for the father through his obedience, even though that obedience cost him his life. Don’t look at the commandments as a burden. Rather, see in them a powerful way to remain in Jesus’ love.  And it is through our obedience that we show our love for Jesus. What does this mean in practice? It means listening to His word and putting it in action. To love is to obey. And to obey is to love.

My dear friends, it’s not easy to love as Jesus commands. It never was an easy thing. But for that reason Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit. The word Jesus used for the Spirit is the word “Advocate”, a legal term for one who supports a defendant at a trial. The Spirit will be the great defender of the disciples in time of trial. When we are weak and face the trials in our lives, we can ask the same Spirit to help us. The Spirit comforts us in times of sorrow, enlightens us in times of darkness, and makes us brave and strong in times of weakness. Amen.

Fr Johan Wongso, SSCC