Sunday Scriptures

Our Motivation Is Guided by Our Relationships of Love

by Father William Dulaney

Love, relationships, and memories – how amazing, how mysterious!  lt’s hard to imagine what our lives would be without them.
I recall talking with a high school senior after his father died. Though looking forward to graduation, he was subdued. Dad had been his role model and mentor; he, Dad’s pride and joy. Now the man he loved and admired wouldn’t be sharing his big day or cheering him on through college.
He knew the friendship, love, and affection he and his father shared would always be a part of his life. While things wouldn’t be as before, Dad and he would never stop loving each other.  He felt a fitting tribute, an appropriate way of saying “thank you” to his Dad, would be to give his college career and every undertaking in life his best shot.
He would try to do as much for others as his father had done for him.  In making his life mean something, he would fulfill his father’s dreams for him. Dad would be proud.
Each one of us can recall parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors who guided us and helped us believe in ourselves. Whenever we think of them, we’re grateful for what they did for us.
Such memories help us realize our experiences, the lessons and values we learn, and the impact others have on us stay with us as time goes on.  With this in mind, let us discover how the wisdom contained in today’s Scriptures can enrich and nourish throughout our lives.
In Acts, we read that Saul spoke boldly in the Lord’s name and related his encounter with the Lord to the other Apostles. Saul’s experience of Our Lord on the way to Damascus had a lasting effect on him. Until the day he was martyred, his only concern was to preach about and witness to his belief in the Risen Lord.
John’s Letter challenges us to believe in the Risen Lord. Once we believe, we are to “love one another just as He commanded us.” We should “love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” As we keep Our Lord’s commandments, we remain in Him and He in us.
Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel passage are part of the Last Supper Discourses in which Our Lord shows His love and concern for His disciples, warning them of the dangers they will face as they proclaim the Gospel. He reminds them repeatedly of their close relationship with Him and pleads with them to “remain in me, as I remain in you.”
Our Lord wants the disciples to bear much fruit as they do His work in the world.
He emphasizes they cannot be faithful to their mission if they try to go it alone. They, the branches, must remain attached to Him, the vine. His hopes for and challenges to them are summarized at the end of the text: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
During His public ministry Jesus taught us, by example, how to live and put His commandments into practice as we proclaim His love to the world.  If we are to persevere in our witness to the Gospel, as Paul and the other Apostles did centuries ago, we must keep alive our relationship with the Risen Christ.
Mindful of the love Jesus shows for us by His sacrificial death and, inspired by the love, sacrifice, and good example of those who have guided and helped us on our life’s journey, we want to do something for others. We want our lives to mean something by making real the love of Christ in today’s world.
Our fears and concerns in this regard can be allayed by today’s readings. They assure us we need never be alone as we endeavor to bear good fruit and make the most of the life, gifts, and talents God has given us.
Love, relationships, and memories! Don’t spend too much time analyzing or trying to understand them. Be grateful for them.  In letting them motivate us to do good for others, we give thanks to and glorify God![hr] Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter            
Acts 9, 26-31
Psalm 22: 8-9, 26-27, 28, 30-32
1 John 3, 18-24
John 15, 1-8[hr] Father Dulaney serves as parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great parish, Bellerose.