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05/06/18 Sixth Sunday in Easter - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 56

  • From our second reading: “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.  In this way the love of God was revealed to us:  God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.”
  • All of us here today are physically alive…
  • But the life that Jesus came to bring us is greater than our physical life
  • Jesus came to bring us Eternal life…  A spiritual life that goes on beyond this world…
  • And love is the life-force of eternal life…
  • Love means many things to many people; but in God’s eyes it has some very unique characteristics…
  • Love in the Biblical sense begins with a tender heart filled with compassion and mercy…
  • It grows with the realization that everything in life is a gift from God…
  • It’s nurtured with forgiveness… Forgiveness of ourselves, and of others who may have hurt us…
  • It’s strengthened when we begin to allow God to rid us of our bitterness and anger…
  • It blooms when we begin to appreciate that like Jesus… We were put on this earth to serve… Not to be served
  • In order for love to more fully blossom in our lives we very often need to make some time for quiet reflection and at times, seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation to re-baseline and rid ourselves of burdens that may be hindering us from nurturing love within us…
  • Our Spiritual journey is first and foremost about learning to let go and to trust in God’s love for us…
  • Until we’re able to accept God’s deep love for us… We’re going nowhere in the spiritual life
  • Our spiritual journey toward love is about learning that we’re not alone on this journey…
  • It’s about letting go of possessions that may possess us… it’s about letting go of titles that we’ve allowed to define us… it’s about letting go of family and beloved friends who must leave this world for the next… and perhaps most importantly – It’s about letting go of how we think life should be to allow God to show us how beautiful life can be
  • Just as there are physical laws that guide the universe…
  • There’s an important spiritual law that we must be aware of as well…
  • Love can neither be created nor destroyed
  • Love is eternal, because as St. John reminded us in our second reading – God is love
  • Jesus’ resurrection on that first Easter morning is an unequivocal testament to the power of love to overcome any and every obstacle... even death itself...
  • If love doesn’t win the day, then our faith is in vain...
  • But love has an enemy, and the enemy of love is fear
  • The fruit of fear is hate… Something that seems all too common in today’s world…
  • Hate in all its forms is always based in fear…
  • Hate is corrosive... it slowly erodes the good in the world... and in each of us as well…
  • Jesus gave us numerous examples of how we are to confront hate...
  • He taught us that love always wins but only if we cultivate it and promote it... and persevere in it
  • Hate needs to be called out with reasoned, disciplined and peaceful resistance... and most importantly by exhibiting love in everything that we do
  • The struggle against hate in our nation and in our world can only be won if each of us stands for the good...
  • If each of us chooses love over fear...
  • If each of us will take our faith out of this church and into the world through the way we live our lives... 
  • From today’s Gospel: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
    and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain
    , so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another
    ."
  • Have you ever considered that you have been chosen by God…
  • Actually – We’ve all been chosen… No exceptions…
  • And we all have a mission in life… often many missions…
  • I recently watched a concert on PBS with Leslie Odom Jr., who appeared in the Broadway hit “Hamilton…”
  • In speaking of his career, he said something very profound that’s worth considering: “When you understand and accept yourself, and your spot on the timeline; there’s something that you are meant to do on this planet that nobody can do like you can do... and if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done... the spot already exists, there’s already a lane for you... get out of the way so you can be free in it.”   Leslie Odom Jr.  “Live from Lincoln Center - Leslie Odom Jr. in Concert” - (PBS) 4/27/18
  • Sometimes we can get in our own way
  • Sometimes we can be our own worst critic, and our own worst enemy
  • Sometimes we can allow fear to rule us and forget that love always wins
  • Sooner or later we need to allow God to help us…
  • Sooner or later we need to have faith in God and in ourselves
  • Sooner or later we will all leave this earth
  • And when we leave, the only thing that we will be allowed to take with us is love
  • The love that we’ve received and the love that we’ve shared with others during our lives…
  • It’s love that bridges the gap between this life and the next…
  • It’s love that makes our mortal lives eternal…
  • It’s love that can not only save us.. But has the power to save the entire world
  • We were created by love to love...
  • Marianne Williamson wrote: “Love is what we were born withFear is what we have learned here.  The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearningof fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts… To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.”  (A Return to Love, Pg. xxii) 

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