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Notes from Fr. Vitalis

Love One Another As I Have Loved You.


Dear Parishioners,

In these days of Easter joy, we read with delight words of advice from Jesus to his disciples. Last Sunday, Jesus spoke to us about the bond that must exist between him and God the Father. He speaks of himself as the Way, and the Truth and the Life. The “way” is not a spiritual road map or book of instructions; rather it is Jesus himself as God’s revelation. To know Jesus is to know God, the ultimate goal of human existence.

Today He speaks to us about love in words he addressed to his close friends. He made love a supreme value that must exist among those who are his friends. He uses the term “commandment” several times in his short farewell address. It is worth noting that lack of love will be the   greatest error and worst temptation facing his apostles, their converts, and us. Unfortunately, what Jesus was trying to avoid has come through in the face of the scandal of separated Christian churches. The unity he prayed for and longed for are yet to be realized. The challenge of Christian unity may seem insurmountable.

However, we can start with individual responsibility: we need to look to ourselves. Each of us needs to ask themselves how he or she lives the commandment of Jesus. What does the commandment entail? It means to live the heart of the Gospel, which calls us to love one another as Jesus loves us. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandment and remain in his love.”

How do we love? It starts with conversion of the heart and the imitation our Lord Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd and we are his flock. He is the vine that nourishes us, the branches. In him we receive our nutrients and life-giving spirit. Now he admonishes us to “Love one another as I have loved you.” He is the model of what our love should be. His love is sincere and absolute. He was faithful to the commandment the Father laid out for him. Jesus calls us to follow in his footsteps.

Our obedience to the commandment will serve as proof of our love and faithfulness. This is where the rubber meets the road. It is not always easy for us to love and care for one another. Sometimes we do well at loving and caring, and yet we struggle immensely with selfishness, greed, violence, and disobedience. It’s this love that moved Philip to preach to the people of Samaria, of whom the Jews had a long history of isolation and hostility.

We should be ready to accept the kind of love Jesus proposes. Love that gives of itself; and does not seek a return. Love that gives without counting the cost. Love that leads us to poverty. It is the love of a poor person. It makes us simple, down-to-earth, and kind. It is unassuming and not prideful. It comes from God. It does not dominate others. It is joyful. It is total abandonment to the love of God. This is the joy that comes when we observe the commandment and imitate Jesus’s love.


Grace and Peace To You,

Fr. Vitalis Anyanike, Pastor