If You Love Me, Prove It!
Sixth Sunday of Easter (A)
My dear encountered couples:
A measure of a person’s love is found in his actions. The familiar saying, “If you love me, show me,” seems to be just what Jesus is saying: “He who obeys the commandments he has from me is the man who loves me.”
Some people worry when they don’t feel any love for God, whether it is for God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. Jesus is trying to tell us it is not in the feelings that we can find whether we truly love God or not. It is in what we do. For it is very possible to have feelings for someone while doing nothing.
Feelings can be wonderful, they can even help make it easier for us to do something, but they don’t amount to anything unless they really get us to doing something good and appropriate. It is very possible to have no feelings of love at all, maybe even feelings of dislike or contempt, yet do that which the other person asks of us, or something that is intended to make the other person happy.
The traditional mother who gets up in the morning, still tired and in a fog, just might not have any feelings of love for her family. But when she does what is necessary to get a good breakfast on the table and her little ones off to school, her husband off to work, she is showing that she loves them. The father shows his love by going to work and doing his best in order to provide for his family. The children show their love by getting off to school on time without causing a scene and doing their best to learn as much as they can.
Very few people always feel like doing these things, nor any other everyday routines, but when they do it, whether out of a sense of duty, obedience, or because it is expected, that is love. Possibly the best kind - because there are no feelings to make it easier. And doing it all without griping and complaining adds a lot. Doing it cheerfully is like putting the icing on the cake.
Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is “to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.” He told us that love towards all is more important than any other commandment, than any other rule or regulation. But if you read all that he had to say, you will easily find that he told us many things to do. Why did he bother to tell us these many other things if loving action is all it takes, if love in action is the rule of life.
Because some actions express more love than others. Though love and actions go together, Jesus wanted us to know which actions he considers the better ones for us to choose from. In case we might have difficulty figuring out just how we are to show our love towards God, towards our neighbor, even towards ourselves, he wanted to help us out. So he gave us advice, rules of life, and what we might even call “commandments.”
We are to have faith and confidence in God no matter what happens. That’s very basic to anything else we do. We are to realize that everything we have and anything we might have the ability to do is a gift to us from God. And we are to use all these gifts well, not ignore them, not bury them. We are to study and learn and grow in wisdom; we are to grow up and mature.
We are to try to make this world a better place to live no matter how hard that might be to do. And concerning those who make this world a worse place to live, well, we’re supposed to forgive them, we’re supposed to pray for them. We are not to physically harm anyone, not psychologically either. We are to pray, fast, acquire self—discipline. We are to be honest and truthful at all times.
We aren’t to solve all our marriage problems by divorce; we are to do our best to work things out. We are to be pure, in both our actions and our intentions. We are also supposed to do our best to work out serious problems we have with others, instead of going to court over every little bothersome thing someone does to us. We are to be just, while also being merciful. We are to see to it that everyone is treated equally and fairly.
Yes, Jesus told us many things to do. He gave us lots of advice, rules, regulations, and commandments. But they are for our own good, for the good of everyone — at least for those who have difficulty finding out how to obtain real, lasting happiness. Jesus knows human nature; he knows what will make us happy and what will make us unhappy. We often don’t. And so we end up doing the wrong things - wrong things for others and wrong things for ourselves. God, like any good parent, wants us to know what is best for us. So he sent us his Son to tell us. “Listen to him,” a voice from heaven told the disciples; he tells us to listen too.
And what is it Jesus is saying? He tells us to love, then tells us how: "The person who obeys my commandments is the man, the woman, the child who loves me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father. I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Jesus offers us happiness, heaven, a never—to—end good life. He offers us God the Father, he offers himself, he offers the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is put love into action. We have to get that good breakfast prepared and on the table every day. There’s a hungry world out there that needs your love. Do your best to give it. Jesus Christ says, “IF YOU LOVE ME, PROVE IT!”