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“Do you love me?” That Tevye’s question to Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. I suspect most of us have asked (or thought of asking) this question at some point in our lives. In our Gospel today, though, Jesus didn’t pose this question. He was more direct. At the beginning of this Gospel he said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” And toward the end of the Gospel he said: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.”
In Fiddler on the Roof Golde replied to Tevye’s question by saying: “For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him. Fought him. Starved with him. Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?” For Golde love was shown in actions, not words. Jesus asks this same thing of those who would be his followers. We show we are his disciples by keeping his commandments. And Jesus commandments are clear. We are called to love God with our whole heart and soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. For Jesus, love is a verb, not a noun. It is an action more than an emotion.
Our first reading this weekend is again taken from the Acts of the Apostles. In it Philip proclaimed Jesus Christ to the city of Samaria. After they had accepted the word of God, Peter and John were sent to them to pray for them that they might “receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them.” The gift of the Spirit signifies unity with the apostles and the other early Christian communities.
Our second reading this weekend is from the first Letter of Saint Peter. In it Peter challenges us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you, for a reason for your hope.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. What are some concrete and specific ways we can show our love for God and our neighbor?
2. In what concrete and specific ways have you experienced God’s love?
3. If someone were to ask you, what reason would you give for your hope?