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Actions Speak Louder than Words
Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
Opening Prayer: My Jesus, I come before you in this time of prayer as an act of love, and I believe you are here with me. In faith, I know that I love you, and I want to know your will for me in all things. I pray for the trust that will enable me to say yes to whatever you ask and to delight in doing your will. Your goodness is the source of my hope. Thank you, Lord, for your love for me and your patience with me as I strive to become ever more the person you created me to be.
- Love Desires to Obey: In Psalm 40, we read, “I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” (Psalm 40:9). In the book of Hebrews, we read that Jesus said, “Behold, I come to do you will, O Lord” (Hebrews 10:7, 9); in fact, Jesus said that doing the will of the one who sent him (God the Father) is his food (John 4:34). Finding our nourishment and delight in doing the will of God makes visible the love we are to have for God and neighbor, and this is the love that we see exemplified by Jesus. His self-giving love on the cross was the fruit of his love for the Father, love that was lived out in obedience. Through this kind of love, we grow in knowledge of and intimacy with God. Do we delight in doing God’s will as an act of love? Do we have the courage to say “not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42) when we face difficulties?
- Whoever Does Not Love…: There is an old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Here Jesus pointed to something similar in a stark statement: “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.” In another place, he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus held up obedience–keeping his words and obeying the Father–as the standard for what it means to love him. What gets in the way of obedience? The Catechism identifies failure to trust God as the root of the disobedience in original sin and states, “All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness” (CCC 297). Trust is foundational to love. We can consider our trust in the Lord, our willingness to say “yes” to whatever he asks (through Scripture, the teachings of the Church, or personal inspiration) in light of St. Paul’s teaching: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
- Never Alone: Jesus assures us that we are not left alone. First, he tells us that he and the Father will come and dwell within us, and where the Father and Son are, there the Spirit is too (the Trinity cannot be separated). We are also told that the Holy Spirit will be sent to us, and he will teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus has told us. We know that this means more than an individual relationship with the Lord and fidelity in following the teachings of the Church. We are called to communion, both in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and as part of the Body of Christ. The Catechism calls the Church “the great sacrament of divine communion which gathers God’s scattered children together. Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy” (CCC 1108). When we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we acknowledge that he is the source of fraternal communion. We treasure the members of the body of Christ and pray for unity.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, in this prayer, I have been struck by your great love for the Father—your Father and mine. I am struck by your hunger to know and do his will in all things. There was nothing you wanted or valued more than your unity with him, and that unity was made real through obedience. Lord, help me see those areas in my life where I have been saying no and need to say yes. Open my heart to your presence in my life. The opportunities for obedience are like knocks on the door of my heart; let me open that door so that you can come in and dine with me (Revelation 3:20).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will increase my trust in you by spending ten minutes looking over my life and identifying several examples of your loving care, and I will share at least one of these with someone.
For Further Reflection: Watch this video about reflecting on God’s action in your life: The Gospel According to You from Dynamic Catholic.
Janet McLaughlin and her husband Chris live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.