Sixth Sunday of Easter
(Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 Jn 4:7-10; Jn 15:9-17)
Have you ever had the experience of a family member or friend move away. How did you feel? Did you give them a gift or receive a gift or memento from them to help you remember them?
In today’s gospel something like that is happening. Jesus has been with his disciples for a long time. They have shared many special and exciting times together and now he is preparing them for the fact that he is going to be leaving them. Naturally, they are saddened to hear this. They have come to love Jesus very much and he loves them. They have also come to depend on Jesus to pull them out of trouble and to help them when they had any kind of need. Not only are they sad; they are also afraid—afraid that they will be alone and they will have to face the future without their friend.
Jesus knows this, but he also knows that he must be faithful to what his Father has asked him to do. So, he gives them something very special to remind them that they are never alone—that he is always with them. He gives them the gift of Himself in Holy Communion. He shares this one last meal with them and before they eat the bread he says, “This is my Body.” Then, when he shares the cup of wine with them he says, “This is my Blood. Whenever you do this my memory, I will come to you. I will fill you up with my love and you will know that I am with you.” Jesus becomes food for them and for us so that we can become one with Him and be filled with his life, his strength, and his love.
Today we also hear Jesus tell his friends—and us—that we must love one another as he loves us. Sometimes that’s hard to do. But if we are filled with the life and the love and the strength of Jesus we can do that because, as Jesus lives in us, he also acts in us and loves in us. So Holy Communion is so special because it is the wonderful gift that Jesus gives us to help us remember that we are not alone—that He is always with us—that He desires to become a part of us. That’s how much He loves us; that’s how much He wants us to love one another.
– Fr. Anthony M. Criscitelli, T.O.R.