Today, I welcome you back to our beloved St. James after these weeks in the wilderness. In the first reading, Philip, one of the deacons, proclaimed the risen Christ to the Samaritans with miracles. In the second reading, Peter asks us to be ready to give explanations for our faith and to be ready to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God for us.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments”. Dearest sisters and brothers, Jesus’ word to his apostles and to us today, touches the heart of our relationship with him. The basis of our relationship with him is love and nothing more. It is the foundation and the only basis that can sustain that relationship.
Our adherence to God’s commandment can only flow from our love for Jesus rather than just fear or legalism. As our Catechism tells us, a perfect contrition for sins, for example, should arise from “a love by which God is loved above all else” rather than just fear for punishment. We should therefore always strive to love God in such a way that everything we do stem from our love for Him.
Today, we all that are gathered here despite the present fear that has taken flesh in our society. We are here because of our love for Jesus. It is this love for the risen Christ also that pushed Philip, Peter and John to evangelize and lay hands on the Samaritans today despite the enmity that had existed between the Jews and them.
Dearest ones, what things, other than bringing us back to the Church, is this love for Jesus asking us to do now? Just like the Samaritans, our world today has lost hope. It is at its wits end. Can we step up and bring to it God’s love as Philip brought to the Samaritans today? Can we demonstrate to the world this new love that is coming from the risen Christ by our faithfulness and obedience to God’s commandment?
Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit. Let us welcome him into our hearts so that through him, we can be instruments of God’s healing and hope for our troubled world today. Amen!