REMAIN IN MY LOVE

Rev. John Kha Tran

A little boy visited his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with, out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved.

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching!  Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."
But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." 
Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?"
So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. And Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper."
Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." 
She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's blackmailing...  He finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done . . .  And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.) whatever it is ...We need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing..... He has seen our whole life. He wants us to know that He loves us and that we are forgiven. God wants us to make the difference in someone's life today by loving them. St. John the Apostle urges us: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God. Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

The Debated Issues

During the election season, the hot topics debating around the nation and in Congress, from Washington to the dinner table, are the economy, gay marriage, and immigration and healthcare reforms. Some want a closed border; others want no border at all. Some think amnesty is the key; others think it would disrespect those who have gone through the legal process to become citizens and reward those who have broken the law instead. Some want healthcare for all. Others demand healthcare with justice and fair. Some want higher tax for millionaires; others want to cut tax for the millionaires because they are the ones helping to create jobs. Some support gay marriage; others say marriage is only between a man and a woman. These are the hot topics. The debates are becoming more intense. Many people are losing a sense of love and charity as they engaged in these debates.

A Reminder

The words of God again challenge all of us, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love . . . This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

St. Peter says in the first reading: “In truth, I see God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” St. John states in the second reading, “Since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.”

Accordingly, our love is rooted in God. God’s love is the foundation of our love. Our love for one another must be built on the foundation of God’s love. “This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. Love consists in this; it is not we who loved God but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins.” We model our love after Jesus. Jesus Christ is the spokesman for God. He is the revelation of God’s love. He is telling us that God loves us. Out of love for all of us, he came to earth to die to save us and show us the way to heaven. He performed miracles, cured the sick, raised the dead to life, gave us the sacraments and graces to help us on our journey to eternal life. We learn from Jesus to love others. And Jesus is telling us to remain in his love. To remain in his love will give us the authentic love. The evidence that we are remaining in his love is to keep his commandments. Unfortunately, many people in our society today do not want to remain in Jesus’ love. Many people do not want to keep his commandments. They say that they believe in God and love God, but at the same time, are incontrovertibly in favor of abortion. They are indisputably promoting same sex marriage, adamantly against the teachings of the Church on contraceptive birth controls. They arguably say that they are doing all these for the sake of loving others. But evidently they are not remaining in Jesus’ love. Their love is not rooted in God’s love. It is not authentic love. Marriage is instituted by God. Marriage is the union between a man a woman. This is the law of nature instituted by God to continue God’s work of creation. This form of union between male and female is manifested in nature both among human beings as well as animals. To support this form of marriage is to remain in God’s love and is to keep God’s commandment. To promote same sex marriage as equal to the traditional and natural marriage between a man and a woman is to choose not to remain in God’s love and God’s commandments. There is no room for discussion on this matter. The words of God and the action of God are crystally clear.

Forgetting God

A spider built his web in a barn, high among the rafters, where he started by spinning a long, thin thread attached to the end of one of the beams. With this thread still attached to him, the spider jumped off the beam and spun out more thread on the way down, until he reached the place he planned as the center of his web. From the center, he then spun out other threads like the spokes of a wheel, attaching each end of them to the walls and other places. Finally he had an exquisitely made web that helped him catch many fine fat flies. But he grew fat, and lazy, and vain.

One day, while admiring the web he had spun, he noticed the long fine thread he had first spun from the top beam and said, “I wonder what that is for? I can’t imagine why I ever put it there; it doesn’t catch any flies.”

And so on a sudden impulse he broke it. But as a result the whole wonderful web collapsed. The spider had forgotten that the one thread, the link to the strongest beam above, supported the whole web. (Paul J. Wharton, Stories and Parables, 53-54).

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”