The Music of Love

May 9, 2021; Jn 15:9-17; 6th Sunday of Easter

There are a lot of commandments. But in today’s gospel, Jesus tells us which commandment he considers most important. He says, “I command you, love one another.” It’s short. It’s clear. And it’s the work of a lifetime. But where do we begin? Who do we love? How do we love? When do we love? We can easily be overwhelmed by the task before us. What we require is a strategy to implement Christ’s command in our lives. Allow me to suggest one to you.

About a year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, the famous classical cellist, Yo Yo Ma, downloaded a video on YouTube. He had recorded it in his own home during the lockdown. On the video he plays a beautiful song on his cello. That video was watched by more than 400,000 people. Its success inspired Yo Yo Ma to challenge his fellow musicians. He said to them, “You have the ability to make music. Music can be extremely helpful during this pandemic. So pick someone. Pick someone that you know or you don’t know. Pick someone who is sick or is healthy. Pick someone who is elderly or young and somehow isolated by this virus. And once you pick someone choose a song for them. Make it personal. Something that relates to their life and their circumstance. Then record that song on your cellphone and with a little note send it to them. You do not need to make a video that receives 400,000 hits. You only need to send your music to one person. So pick a person. Pick one person each day.”

Love is the music that Jesus commands us to play. And Yo Yo Ma’s challenge is a useful strategy for following Jesus’ command. So pick someone. Pick one person each day, and send them a sample of your love. Make it personal. Something that relates to their own situation. Obviously a good person to pick today, on Mother’s Day, is your mother. Whether she is thirty or ninety. Whether she is alive or deceased. Tell her what she means to you. Show her your love. On another day you might pick the person at school that people ignore or bully. Choose to greet that person with a smile and warm good morning. On another day you might choose someone at work who has just experienced a loss in their family and find a way of showing them some support. Pick someone that irritates you. Pick a friend you have not talked to in a while. Pick someone you just argued with. Pick whoever you want. But then send them a sample of your love.

It will be good for them and it will be good for you. Because whether you have noticed it or not, Jesus gives us more than a command in today’s Gospel. He also makes a promise. He says that if we love one another, his joy will become ours, and our joy will become complete. Loving another person is the way to happiness. Giving to another leads us to joy.

So both the command and promise are clear. Let us begin today. Pick someone. Send them your love. Begin to build a lifetime of happiness.

1 thought on “The Music of Love”

  1. I just learned of your work and website through your Reflection in “Give Us This Day” (Liturgical Press, May 2021 issue, pp172-73). Last Sunday’s homily, “The Music of Love” is beautifully reassuring. In a world where intellect and academic achievement, political savvy and power – absolutely critical gifts needed in service to address the world’s countless ills, no doubt – I find it deeply affirming to be reminded that small things, small tokens of love, play an important role, as well. Thank you!


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