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Fifth Sunday of Easter                                                        John 13:31-35

Those of you who are parents, coaches or leaders of young people have all experienced the moment when, in order to guide a youth in the proper direction, you must direct them in a direction that they do not want to go. There are times when we must discipline those in our charge because we know the truth, after years of experience we know the reality of the world and they, as yet, do not fully understand that reality. We discipline these young people out of love. It is our deep love for them which, drives us to lead them in the direction we know and believe to be true. Therefore, it is important for us to remember that Jesus came to testify to the truth and show us the Father, and all that he taught is the truth, no matter how it may disturb or confuse us.

Today, Jesus gives us His final commandment: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples,” — The love of Jesus, in Greek, is Agape, that is, divine love,  His love is omniscient, based in truth and justice. In the gospels Jesus, many times, commands us to love. The question is: does this command to love mean, as the media and our society keep telling us; don’t be judgmental, because all truth is subjective, because all things are good if we believe they are good. This idea of not being judgmental is the only thing the secular culture has ever accepted from the teachings of Christianity. They take that concept as a defense because it makes it possible, to justify all their strange ideas, as good or at least reasonable. It justifies their rationalism, there is no dichotomy of good and evil, everything can be justified if one believes it. But we know what Jesus meant by being non-judgmental. He was talking about judging someone’s eternal soul, which is his job. He never said there is no sin, he never said that all things can be justified. In fact, he tells us, in the gospels, how to correct our brother when he is in error. But our culture today have rendered sin practically invisible. They have covered it with a false love, a command to be kind by allowing everyone to do whatever they feel is right and good for them. In fact, in some areas they have passed laws that allow people to steal, only up to a thousand dollar value, without consequence. Whatever someone feels good stealing then becomes their “right” to do so. 

Here are some other examples of some of the rights they believe they have: The right to take innocent life in the womb of the mother. The right to end their life if it is not productive or contains some suffering. The right to justify perverse activity because some enjoy it. The right to prevent conception by artificial means because they want total control over their own lives. The right to ignore science in regard to gender, the earth sciences or the proper raising of children, and it goes on and on.

If we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe what he taught and what he said is truth; but the godless maintain that this is religious fanaticism, my friends, there are no greater  fanatics than the pagan fanaticism that continues to pull us toward the darkness of evil. When I was ordained the bishop handed me the Book of Gospels and said, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” As disciples of Christ these are words we can all live by. 

As Catholics we should be proud, in a good way, because recently the Church of Christ, the Rock of Christianity, is targeted because for two thousand years we have been the leader of the Pro-Life movement. Catholics are recognized by ignorant unbelievers as the one true Church which leads the war against the Culture of Death which belongs to Hell. We continue to bring Jesus Christ to lead us into this spiritual, moral battle for souls.    

It may be difficult, it may be counter-cultural but it is our duty to stand against those who do not believe in the teachings of the Messiah. It is difficult to converse with them because for them there is no objective truth. As it says in the first reading today, the apostles strengthened the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, saying that it is through many tribulations that we must pass in order to enter the kingdom of God. 

Do we think it was any easier for the early Christians to change the pagan world of their day than it will be for us to do the same? If so, then read about the persecution of the ancient Church and all the martyrs of Rome. Each one of us could, with great profit, spend a few moments today meditating and evaluating our own thoughts, words, and actions in relation to Christ’s commandment of love.

qExt meeting © JOSEPH MEILINGER 2021