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Homily by Fr. Paul Plante

6th Sunday of Easter

Year B

May 28, 2000

Scriptural Reference: 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17

     If we were to take love as the supreme and only sign of someone’s connection with God – simply because God is Love and therefore all manifestations of true love become an evident sign of God – how would we fare in everyday life as signs of God? What do people see in us that points to God?

     Do we grow in our awareness that depending on how we behave, we are either presenting God to those around us or cheating those around us out of God’s presence?

     Have we come to realize that when we respond to certain situations lovingly we are also making God present to ourselves and when we refuse to be loving, we block off God’s being manifested to us and remain in selfish isolation!

     Loving response can mean reaching out to others and serving their needs. For example, we detect that someone is down or lonely and we suggest to do something that may be uplifting. But responding to God and being loving could all happen within ourselves in a moment of loving awareness of God – a short prayer – a change of attitude – a decision to be positive – a smile in gratitude for life that only God sees but that could change our day, even it is much spent alone!

     Nothing stops us from casually recommending people in need to God – speaking to God in our hearts about their needs – about hurts and sufferings of so many people in the world. Please do not interpret this as my saying that we do not have to tangibly reach out to others. We do, but much of true unselfish love has to begin in the heart – to be purified of self-interest in God’s presence and then recognize the need to do something good, trusting that this inspiration is from God and will therefore make God present.

     It is one thing to occasionally find yourself in a situation in which you almost have to do something good and then as you think about it to realize how good you felt when you responded lovingly.

     But wouldn’t it be much better to always be loving and close to God and others in your heart – a continuous inner loving attitude, a loving presence of God that would be preparing you to be loving and therefore happy all the time!

     This love and intimacy that St. John speaks about in both his letter and his Gospel have the recipe for love – and the fruit of love – joy. Love is a sure sign of God.

     You claim to be such a sign or at least you want to be such a sign. On this very practical level, examine what your attitude is towards the Bishop’s Appeal. What kind of generous response are you ready to show?

     Once again it is the love within and God’s closeness within that allows us to do something good with generosity.

     Pray to be a true sign of God’s Love.

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