Sixth Sunday of Easter: The elixir of love

Jesus Christ is the Elixir of Love. He is the potion that brings happiness.

May 08, 2021

6th Sunday of Easter Readings:
Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48;
1 John 4:7-10; Gospel: John 15:9-17

Back in the Middle Ages, there was an alchemist who had achieved notable fame  for his intellectual prowess. For want of a better name, we’ll call him Justin of Bieberland.  Now, usually when we think of alchemy, we  focus on the attempts of alchemists to create  gold, but actually, the alchemists attempted  much more than that. They were really the  first inorganic chemists. And Justin was one  of the best. He understood the properties of  mercury, how best to transform various elements into energy and so forth. The problem  was that Justin was so intelligent that people  were afraid of him. He was too smart for  them. And so people avoided him. Especially, female people. Now Justin really wanted  to have a wife and family, but how could he  convince a fair lass to marry him? So, being  a scientist, Justin set to work on creating an  elixir of love. After months and months of  meticulous work, he had finally a finished  product. Justin did have one friend, an older  alchemist. And this friend had a beautiful  young daughter. Justin told his friend that he  had made a wonderful discovery and would  like to show it to him, perhaps at dinner at  the friend’s house. So, Justin was invited. He  brought his elixir. During the meal he made  up a story of how he had created a potion that  would bring happiness to young maidens. He  and the girl’s father convinced her to try it.

The girl drank the elixir. And she began to  see Justin through different eyes. After a few  months, she was open to Justin’s proposal  of marriage. So, Justin married his beautiful  girl, and soon they had their own family of  three wonderful children. Now you would  think that they would live happily ever after.  But they didn’t. Justin had everything he ever  wanted, but he was not happy. In fact, he became more and more sullen and depressed.  And eventually, he became angry, frustrated  and mean spirited. Why? Because, throughout the years, he was plagued with a question.  It became an all-consuming obsession. The  question he kept asking himself over and over  was this: Would she have loved me if she had  not drunk the elixir?

Our society perpetuates the great lie that  love can be won through an elixir. The elixir  may be becoming a professional who makes  a great deal of money. Money is supposed to  guarantee that happiness can be bought. Or  the elixir might be that having the perfect  body will attract lasting love. But the beautiful bodies of the young become the bodies  of the middle aged. And that six-pack stomach turns into a full keg. Commercials try to  convince us that the right perfume or cologne  will do the job. That’s as close to an ancient  elixir as you can come. But a good job never  won anyone love, and a beautiful body may  attract another person but it isn’t going to win  his or her love. And folks, a famous perfume  like El Stinko #5 is not going to be a love  magnet.

Today’s second reading from the First Letter of John, and the Gospel from John 15,  both speak about love, Christian love. Christian love is not forced on a person. It isn’t due  to an elixir, nor does it come merely from  physical attraction, or any other attraction  for that matter. Love, true love, lasting love,  only results from the Love of Christ. And that  love becomes a magnet. If a person loves the  Lord, that love itself will attract other people  who are seeking the Lord. Perhaps it will attract a person who is looking for someone to  make a life with, certainly it will attract many  others who are looking for the meaning to  life. 

I want you to consider St Teresa of Calcutta. Her work among the poorest of the poor  spread throughout the world. Her religious  order, the Missionaries of Charity, became the  fastest growing religious order in the Church.  Why were so many people attracted to Mother Teresa? Certainly they felt called to join  her in making Matthew 25 a reality: “...when  I was hungry you gave me food to eat, when I  was thirsty you gave me drink, etc.” But there  was even more than this that attracted people  to Mother Teresa. They were drawn by Jesus’  love within her. And like a magnet, that love  flowed through her into them. And then they  attracted others to Christ. The love of Christ  flowed through her into them. It still does.

We have been attracted by the dynamism,  the magnetism of Jesus Christ. We know that  saying that we love Him is not enough. We  have to live His Love. In the Gospel, Jesus  uses this phrase: “Remain in my love.” He  tells us that we remain in His Love if we keep  His commandments. But Jesus doesn’t give a  whole list of commandments like Moses did  when he came down from Mt Sinai. Jesus just  gives one commandment: Love one another.

That is all that really matters, if we love  each other, truly, in the sacrificial love of the  Lord, everything else falls into place. St Augustine put it this way: “Once and for all, a  short rule is laid down for you: Love and do  what you will. If you keep silence, do it out  of love. If you cry out, do it out of love. If you  refrain from punishing, do it out of love. Let  the root of love be within you. From such a  root, nothing but good can come.” (From St  Augustine’s sermon on 1 John 7).

So, we are concerned about this or that  member of the family. Maybe he or she is in  a bad relationship, or behaving badly. If we  strike out at them, let them feel our wrath  for the people they are hurting, we will accomplish nothing. But if instead we allow  the magnetism within us to be evident in our  concern for them, and we seek the ways that  we can best expose them to the love of Christ,  eventually, over time, Christ will prevail. The  Easter message is that Jesus is the Victor.  Christ wins. He always wins.

Another example: we are invited to join  an activity which is immoral; and we decline  respectfully, but lovingly. A close friend asks  us to join him or her. And we say, “I have to  tell you what is happening inside of me. I just  can’t reconcile going there and doing that  with the deep love for God I feel within me.  It just is not me. It is not my style.” And we  leave it at that, then the person we are speaking to might eventually, someday, also say, “I  want that deep love of God in my life.”

Jesus Christ is the Elixir of Love. He is the  potion that brings happiness. We pray today  for the courage to love His Presence so much  that His Love will flow through us and attract  others to love as He Loves. — By Msgr  Joseph A Pellegrino

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