Cycle [C] 5th Sunday of Easter

 Acts 14:21b-27; Rev. 21:1-5a; Jn. 13:1, 31-33a, 34-35

The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles narrates the praiseworthy service of love that the Christians had for each other in the Lord Jesus. Paul and Barnabas continued on their mission from town to town, "strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in their faith."

To shine in a service of love is to imitate the saints of the Church such as St. Paul. In his love for Jesus, he appointed elders to lead the believers in each church. With prayer and fasting, he and Barnabas entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. And when they completed their mission, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.

In the Gospel Jesus gives us a new commandment, "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."  And Jesus

added, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." By shining in love towards one another, others will know that we are the disciples of Jesus.

There is a heart touching story of a post man and a little girl. 

One day an elderly postman knocked on door of a house and said, “Take the letter.”

As soon as he said this, a little girl’s voice echoed from inside, “I am coming now. Please wait.”

When there was delay, the post man called again. So the girl replied, “Uncle. If you are in a hurry, put the letter under the door. I am coming, it will take some more time.” But he decided to wait. After about 10 minutes, the door opened. He was shocked to see that in front of him was a little handicapped girl who had no legs.

In a month or two whenever mail came, postman would knock and call for the girl and then wait patiently at the door. Gradually, interaction and attachment grew between them.

The little girl noticed that the postman used to come barefoot to deliver mails.

For Diwali, the postman brought her chocolate. After receiving the chocolate the little girl asked him to wait, and she brought a gift for him.

When the postman opened the box, he was surprised to see there was a pair of shoes in it. His eyes twinkled. The postman couldn’t believe that the little girl was so concerned about him.

In Luke’s version of the Great Commandment conversation, the scribe asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  He seemed to be looking for a loophole. 

The parable of the Good Samaritan was Jesus’ response to his question. Compassion is not simply a warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts. Compassion does something. A heart that’s moved by compassion cannot sit by idly while someone suffers a need. Loving your neighbor as yourself is being moved to help to the full extent of our ability. 

Sometimes loving our neighbors is as simple as meeting a need. Let them know we care about them. Let them know we’re thinking of them. It is often enough to inspire love inside them, encouraging them to do the same for others.

Once a nurse hurriedly took a Young Marine to the bedside of an old man and said to him, “Your son is here.”

The patient was heavily sedated, after a while with difficulty the old man opened his eyes. The young man took his hand and held it.  He wrapped his hand around the old man’s hand with care and affection. The whole night he sat near the old man comforting him.

Toward dawn the old man died.  Then he went to the nurse to inform her of his death. After completing the formalities the nurse started to offer sympathy to the young man. He asked her, “Why are you saying this to me?”

The nurse was startled by his response and answered, “He was your father!”

He replied, “I don’t know him. I never even met him before.” I knew you made a mistake. But I felt that he needed his son at that moment. I realized that he was too sick to tell whether I was his son or not. Knowing how much he needed his son in his last time, I stayed there.

When someone needs you, just be there. When someone needs you, just be there. This is what Jesus did throughout his life. When he heard that his friend Lazurus died he  went to see  his sisters to console them. When Jesus found the crowd that was following him and listening to his teaching was hungry he fed them. When Jairus was afflicted with sorrow at the death of his daughter, Jesus consoled him by bringing back the little girl to life. At the village of Nain during the burial ceremony of the son of a widow, Jesus raised the young man from the dead to console her. On the cross he offered forgiveness to  the good thief and promised his company in paradise.

Mother Theresa said, “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service. The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” When people need you, be there. Answer your phone, open your door, give your shoulder, share your heart.

This is the message that today’s readings give us. When someone needs you, just be there.