By Tony Crescio
The Easter Season celebrates the transformational power of the resurrection. Through the resurrection, sin and death have been conquered and we have been offered a share in the life of God through Jesus Christ. The words we hear Jesus speak emphasize this saving message.
In order to better bring this message into focus, I want to highlight one particular line from the Gospel of John: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:21). Here, the words “my word” encapsulate the whole of Jesus’ message, but at bottom, his commandment to love as he loves. But notice please, what the result of adhering to this command is, “my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” My friends, living a life of true love brings us to share in the life of the Trinity, Which is a Communion of Love Itself.
In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis has proclaimed that we learn both about the love that God has for us, and how to live that love from our families. He highlights the formation of children in accordance with this reality in chapter 7 of the document (a useful read for parents). Then, in the concluding chapter (9), Pope Francis focuses on the spirituality of the family. In this chapter, he brings together both the learning and living of love and how this life of love draws us closer to God, as we were told by Jesus in today’s gospel. Therein, he writes, “The spirituality of family love is made up of thousands of small but real gestures. In that variety of gifts and encounters which deepen communion, God has his dwelling place. This mutual concern brings together the human and the divine, for it is filled with the love of God” (Amoris Laetitia, p. 315). Notice the beauty here my friends! By loving one another, even in the smallest of ways, a kind glance, a holding of the hand, an opening of the door, a “please”, “thank you”, an “I’m sorry;” we allow the love of God to become present in our very homes!
The cultivation of such a love has the potential to have a transformational impact on the world around us precisely because love, true love, cannot be contained! Therefore, if love is cultivated within our families, it will spill out into our streets, cities, country and the entire world! This too, is a reflection of the Trinity. As Pope Francis writes: “Social love, as a reflection of the Trinity, is what truly unifies the spiritual meaning of the family and its mission to others, for it makes present the kerygma in all its communal imperative” (Ibid., 324). My friends, the love you cultivate in your homes, and which your family lives in your communities proclaims the living love of the resurrected Christ! It is only this love which has the power to transform, to save, and to give life to the very fullest! Live that love!