Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 14,15-21
Jesus said to his disciples: If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Peace to all my brothers and sisters listening in today
Criteria, Commandments and the Caliph
1) The Criteria: Jesus tells us the one criteria, the litmus test that shows whether or not we really love Him is, whether we keep his commandment to love others as he loves us or not. And how does he love us? With a total self giving self sacrificial and unconditional love which is revealed on the cross when he lays down his life for us. So the question is: How many of us can honestly say we really love Jesus? How many of us love others with a total self giving self, sacrificial and unconditional love.
2) The following story may help us answer the question. The Caliph: The sultan of the Ottoman Empire was warned of a powerful caliph who was said to have hundreds of thousands of followers and was thus a threat to his empire. After ignoring the warnings from his inner circle, the sultan finally decided to send a message to meet with the Caliph at the edge of the desert.
When he arrived the Caliph dismounted from his steed and knelt and said: You sir are a master, whatever power I have, I have because you shared yours with me. I will gladly give my life for my master, so he may live. They embraced.
The sultan said: I have wondered how you are my old friend. My advisers warned me of your might and said that you have hundreds of thousands of disciples. How many do you have?
3) The Caliph paused and said one and a half. At this the Sultan grew angry and had him arrested and thrown into jail. The news spread quickly that the Caliph had fallen from grace and would be beheaded the next morning, unless all of his followers showed up.
That night the sultan came with the entire Ottoman army and placed 30 sheep inside of a tent and waited until morning.
In the morning there were tens of thousands of camels at the edge of the dessert.
The sultan looked at the Caliph who was tied up and said one and a half huh?
The sultan proclaimed He would kill the Caliph unless ten men were willing to come forward and be sacrificed for him.
A man came forward and kneeled at the feet of the caliph and said you sir are my master whatever power I have, I have because you shared yours with me, I will gladly give my life for my master so he may live. He was immediately taken into the tent and three of the sheep were slaughtered so that their blood flowed out from the tent and into the sand. There was a movement and hundreds of camels rode away. The sultan said I need nine more. At this a woman came forward and said kneeling at the caliphs feet. You sir are my master and whatever power I have, I have because you shared yours with me. I will gladly give my life for my master so he may live. She too was taken into the tent and three more of the sheep were slaughtered and blood flowed out of the tent. At this all of the remaining camels left. When they were all gone, the sultan looked at the caliph and said I am sorry you were telling the truth, you really only have one and a half disciples, the man is your one disciple and the woman is the half. The Caliph said no you are wrong the woman is my one follower and the man is the half. You see he is arrogant and naive and thinks everything is a test, he has a lot to learn but the woman believed that she would die if she came forward and she gave her life willingly.
Discipleship is not about saying how loyal you are or feeling close to the master but rather demonstrated through self sacrificial acts of love.
Let us live as true disciples today by choosing concrete acts of unselfish love
May God bless you in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit
Always remember heaven is our goal.