Balik-Tanaw | 6th Sunday of Easter: If You Love Me, Do Your Chores

We are called to be a voice of the voiceless. To lift up the lowly, the least, last and lost. We are called to respond to the cry of the poor. And when we have done these, then and only then can we praise, worship, and adore our God and sing, “Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise!” (Ps 66:1-2)

Association of Women in Theology (AWIT)

Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
1Peter 3:15-18
John 14:15-21

When I first learned to be responsible, I became aware of the consequences of my actions. At a very young age, about 6 years old, I knew chores. My mom taught me how to wash dishes, wash my hankies and underwear (the little things first), sweep the floor, sweep the leaves in the little garden and other things. She would always tell me, “If you love me, you will do your chores.” Wow. That was how we were disciplined during my time in the early sixties. It may sound quite harsh, but we really learned!

I have to show through my action that I love. I will act on love.

Today, as I approach my senior year, I have always carried with me, that “commandment”. But in a different tone. About two years, before mom passed on, I contemplated how Jesus wanted me to love him. My prayer during the consecration at mass was, ‘Jesus, teach me how to love you as I should’. Because mine was a dysfunctional family, ‘love’ was difficult to understand. And I want to learn. So, when after that certain mass I attended, I came home to find my mom in a mess. So while cleaning up, wiping, mopping, disinfecting, giving her a sponge bath, dressing her, and changing linens, I found it to be a breeze! “And so Jesus, if this is how you want me to love you, why, it can be easy!”

There were many other similar circumstances that happened. There were times I complained. There were times I grumbled. But through it all, I would be resilient. Like a bamboo, I would be bent but will bounce back. Ours was a conflicted relationship, my mom and I. But forgiveness we learned to the hilt. We would be exchanging texts of “I forgive you, forgive me”, over and over again. And when it was time for her to go, it was the most sacred moment I have ever experienced. Forgiveness was etched all over her face and as she heaved the last breath, I whispered, “I love you. Thank you for teaching me to love Jesus.”

By the way, it is not a coincidence that it’s her fourth death anniversary on May 20, and I am writing this piece.

I am sure she desires that this little story of reconciliation be sent as good news to all who are in healing relationships. Thank you Mommy. Rest now in God’s heart.

Jesus’ discourse in the 14th chapter of the gospel of John, is the first of three farewell discourses touching on the spiritual life. After the washing of the feet, Jesus tells his disciples who lived intimately with him will soon have to accept “another way of living with the risen and present, though invisible, Christ.” We backread a little into the discourse and in the first verse we find that Jesus knew how human nature operated and so assured them not to be troubled. When we reach our gospel reading for today (14:15-21), Jesus had already made a promise that “Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon my name, I will do.” (14:14) And then, he highlights the very foundation of spiritual life, that is, love (14:15).

If I was there, I would protest, “Oh come on, good Lord, you know how difficult your commandment is! Nope, not easy!” But Jesus knew that and so promises to send a Helper, the Spirit of truth. Then Jesus further underlines the intimacy with God of the spiritual life, “…and you in me, and I in you…and show myself clearly to (you).”(14: 20,21b). This is only possible if one keeps Jesus’ commandment of love. And here, it comes to mind that to love Jesus is to see him in my fellow human being. Remember, “Whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.”(Mt.25:40) This is what nourishes our spiritual life. And the very reason why we do this, is out of love.

The apostles’ love for Jesus is what has moved them to go and fulfill their mission. In our first reading, we see the apostles go about their mission to Samaritans, including laying their hands for the Holy Spirit to descend on them and heal them. We contemplate on the faith of the apostles and their complete trust in God. They came to realize (and we too) that the spiritual and the physical are intertwined. That the spirit and the body are in mutual dialogue and “dance with the music of God’s love”.

As we approach the feast of Pentecost, we, as Christians, are called to make manifest the life-giving nature of the Spirit of truth. We are in the midst of pandemics. Not only of a Coronavirus but a pandemic of violence as many of us have been victims of extrajudicial killings, domestic violence, etc. A pandemic of hunger as many of us starve due to unsafe food, food that lack nutrition, and the loss of land to conversion, instead of land for planting food. And lastly, the pandemic of the leadership of lies and deception. “…The biggest crisis of our time is that our minds have been manipulated to give power to illusions. We shifted measuring growth not in terms of how life is enriched, but in terms of how life is destroyed.” (Dr. Vandana Shiva, Indian environment activist, and mother; on rejecting the use of biofuels as green energy.)

This is the time to act. This is the time to embrace those suffering in the fringes of society. A time to rise up.

We are called to be a voice of the voiceless. To lift up the lowly, the least, last and lost. We are called to respond to the cry of the poor. And when we have done these, then and only then can we praise, worship, and adore our God and sing, “Shout with joy to God, all you on earth; sing to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise!”( Ps 66: 1-2).

Because if we truly love Jesus, we will do our chores.

Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing ,reading, and reflecting on these with the current context(tanaw)

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