“It was not you who chose me, but I chose you.”
About a year ago, I invited a young man to come speak to our High School students about Catholicism. He was a recent convert to the faith and his zeal and enthusiasm were very contagious. While we were waiting for the moment to arrive, he sat down in my office and starred at a very beautiful painting of Jesus I had behind my desk. I could tell by the look on his face that something had surprised him. I thought it was just the art work. He told me that he had been thinking about the priesthood for some time and could not get this crazy idea out of his head. So when he sat down and could see his image, his face, superimposed on Christ’s face, well, it brought new meaning to the words, Through Him, with Him, in Him. It all began to make sense for this young man. It literally appeared as though Christ was inside of him and seeing the world through Him.
From an image of Christ came forth a new vocation to the priesthood. After one year of preparation, he will be entering the seminary this summer.
“It was not you who chose me, but I chose you.” To do what? To go bear fruit. So, how is it going? What’s for dinner? After all, what I dish out is what I serve! Am I dishing out poison, meat from strangled animals or blood from my hunting expeditions (cf. Acts 15:22-31)? Do I spread rumors and encourage dissention about this and that? Is the love I give the love I have received? We have all received everything we need! “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love.” Today, I need to stop filtering or plugging up The Lord’s divine well of love running through me and allow it to gush forth a spring for the new evangelization!
“I no longer call you slaves but friends.” To serve means to think of someone else as first. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” To serve means to be primarily concerned for another’s well-being rather than my own self-righteousness! To serve means to seek the best for the other. The one who serves is the one who loves, and the one who loves is truly a friend, and a friend is someone who helps you when you cannot do what you should do on your own. A friend is a Good Samaritan. No excuses! I can never forget that what I possess I have received; that all this love comes from the Lord. There is no excuse to not give more, forgive more and love more. I have it all!
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”
Ah…here is the catch! We have to keep the Lord’s commandments. If not, then the axe falls! The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin against the Holy Spirit - the refusal to seek forgiveness. It is a catch-22 again. In order to forgive, I must be forgiven. In order to love, I must be loved; that is, I must experience love. It is the nature of things. We know the Lord’s commandments: Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself. How can God command love? Because he has lived his own commandment of love, but in reverse. We love because he loved us first! He loves us more than himself!
If you go to Church every Sunday and receive His precious body and blood, and if you frequent the Sacrament of Confession, then you have no excuse. These are the two Sacraments of Love: Giving and Forgiving or Consuming and Releasing. If I refuse the Lord’s love, then I will be consumed by my own wrath and relive it forever!
Re-dedicate and consecrate your life to the Lord. Keep the Lord’s commandments and remain in his love.