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  • Fr Daniel

The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Sing along/listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJDWFYIkBns


The readings/prayers can be found here:


Easter 6B Mass Sheet
.docx
Download DOCX • 475KB

Sing along/listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXO4rqBQOAU


‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.


Alleluia, Christ is Risen.

He is risen indeed, alleluia!


This is the greatest show!


It’s everything you ever want…

It’s everything you ever need…

And it’s here right in front of you…

This is where you wanna be…


Yes, ‘this is the greatest show!’


Those words may be familiar to some of you from the main song in the blockbuster hit ‘The Greatest Showman’. Released in 2017 with a star cast, including Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, the film became an overnight sensation, taking £435 million at the Box office.


The film is centred on the character of PT Barnum, a man who above all, desires success. Stemming from a childhood experience of being slapped by a man of higher social status, whilst his Father stood by and did nothing, Barnum comes to the conclusion that money equals success, success brings status and status ultimately brings power. And so, after being made redundant, he longs for that power, and thinks it can be grasped by a new venture, a venture that he feels, will bring him fulfilment, that will satisfy his longings and ultimately bring him joy. He begins a circus, a circus comprised of people who are different, who look different to conventional norms the late nineteenth century, and despite opposition, the performance becomes a mesmerising, piece of theatre. It truly does become the greatest show – the crowds flock and Barnum feels like he’s made, it until the set is destroyed.


All the while, Barnum’s wife falls into the trap of seeing her life and success exclusively through her husband. The circus performers too, face a crisis, they see their existence through the praise of the crowd, and all are left disappointed in one way or another. Barnum rebuilds but comes to realise the things that are truly important are not success or money or status, but rather love; the thing they had all neglected, but particularly Barnum was right in front of him, love.


‘This is the greatest show!…It’s everything you ever want. It’s everything you ever need. It’s standing right in front of you. This is where you want to be.’


‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you, abide in my love.’

Ultimately, the film shows us that the thing that Barnum, his wife and the circus performers long for, the thing that they desire above all else is love, unconditional, life giving love.


Now, in the film, success, desire, status and love are all caught up with the characters – they believe that it’s all about their efforts, it’s about the things of this world – affirmation in the eyes of others – power – and they believe that they can bring themselves complete joy. But if we listen carefully to the words of Jesus, the opposite is true, the love of God cannot be obtained by us, it cannot be purchased, it’s not a loose transaction. Rather, it is a gift that is given: ‘I have loved you’, ‘you did not choose me, no I chose you’ the gift of love stems from God himself.


What does Jesus then say? That love is given so that we may abide in it, and in so abiding, give us joy, joy that is complete. This joy, springing from love, does not leave us wanting, nor does it leave us disappointed, nor does it leave us craving more. The love of God makes joy complete because that love of which he speaks, is one and the same love that is shared bet ween the Father and the Son. Now that’s worth repeating: the love of God which we are called abide in, is the same love that unites the Father and the Son. It’s not the next level down, it’s not a dim reflection of that love, no the love to which we are called, commanded, to share in, is the intimate love of Father and Son itself: it is love that gives life. And how do we know definitively the magnitude of that love which we are commanded to participate in? By the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus ‘the Christ’ as our second reading puts it, ‘no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.


How often do we, like Barnum, spend trying to plan our successes, our achievements, etc if I do XYZ then I will receive this this and this. If I do ABC then I will gain this that or the other. We so often give our lives meaning and purpose, we so often, like Barnum’s wife, see our lives through the lens of others, particularly those closest to us, and yet, Jesus today, is moving the disciples away from such a focus. Their lives and therefore our lives should be focussed on him – the very source of life and love. Why? Because the world will only disappoint us, success comes and goes, wealth accumulates and then disappears, status fades, best laid plans can be ruined.


But love – Jesus is telling us – never fails. And that is because love, as we heard in the second reading conquers the world, it goes beyond all of those things and whatever else we put down as essential to our lives. God’s love is the pervading force that never fails, never runs out, never leaves us wanting, God’s love is eternal, because it is the love shared between the Father and the Son. That’s the reality check we’re given today. The promise of eternal love won through the cross and sealed through the resurrection is at our fingertips, we need only to accept it…


The greatest show, the thing that you ever want, that thing that you ever need is standing right in front of you. It is the cross and resurrection, the love of God truly outpoured. In the words of Saint John put your faith it and you will conquer the world – you will overcome its empty promises and then and only then, will your joy be complete. Living in the love of God is surely the greatest show.

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.


It’s everything you ever want…

It’s everything you ever need…

And it’s here right in front of you…

This is where you wanna be…


Alleluia, Christ is Risen.

He is risen indeed, alleluia!


Sing along/listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X8m9tVR0_Y



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