This weekend’s column is written by Fr. Omar Ayubi.
In today’s Gospel the Lord is giving us an enormous responsibility. He is giving us a new commandment, as he did to his disciples during the Last Supper: “Love one another.” Furthermore, Jesus added an important thing right after that: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Because of this, we know our identity as Christians and that identity is love. Pope Francis talked about it in his homily for the Jubilee for Boys and Girls on April 24, 2016: “Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” identifying us as Christians. It is the only valid document. If this card expires and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master. So, I ask you: Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciples? Do you wish to be his faithful friends? The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love; not some “pie in the sky” love; no, it is a genuine love that shines forth in their way of life. Love is always shown in real actions. Those who are not real and genuine and who speak of love are like characters in a soap opera, some fake love story.”
Anyone may think that this is a very high expectation Jesus is putting in our shoulders for we are his disciples. But this commandment has not been given to us randomly and without base; He himself has fulfilled this commandment in His relationship with us. Jesus even reminded us about it as he says in today’s gospel reading, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” He has loved us first and in such great way, by dying for our sins in the Cross and by Resurrecting on the third day restoring for us life eternal. This, my dear family, is the greatest gift humanity has ever received. He laid down His own life for each and every one of us; what a generous gesture of total and complete love! But Jesus wanted for us to know with great certainty of His love for us, leaving us with the Sacrament of the Eucharist, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, so that He can touch us physically even though He is at the right hand of our heavenly Father.
For almost two years I have been an instrument of the Lord for all parishioners of this great community of love, the Church of the Little Flower and St. Theresa’s School, and I have tried my best to remain faithful to the Lord’s Gospel teachings and to all of you. However, it is time for me to leave you. Archbishop Thomas Wenski has asked me to lead another community of love in the ways of the Gospel; he is sending me as the Administrator of St. Katherine Drexel in Weston.
I want to thank first and foremost, Fr. Manny, for being not only a great pastor but a loving brother to me. I also want to thank all of you for receiving and embracing me in such loving way. I will leave physically this community, but my heart will always be here. My last day here will be June 5th. May the Lord continue blessing you abundantly and remember that our Christian identity will always be love.
Peace, blessings and love!