From today’s Gospel (John 15:9-17)
‘This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.‘
Love one another as I have loved you. It’s only eight words. Eight tiny little words, yet these eight words are so loaded with meaning it is hard to comprehend their significance.
Perhaps the first thing to consider is this: how did Jesus love us? The answer to this question can be found on the Cross. For it is on the Cross that Jesus gives us the greatest sign of his infinite, unconditional love for each one of us. He suffered horrific pain out of love for us. He suffered nails in his hands and feet, he suffered whips and beatings, he suffered humiliation, and worst of all he suffered the threat of even the briefest separation from the Father during his last moments on the Cross. He suffered all of this because he loves us.
So, is that what we are called to do? To suffer just as Jesus suffered? The answer is different for each one of us and only the Father knows what we must suffer in our lives but what Jesus has done has given us a sure and certain hope of eternal life with him no matter what we suffer here on earth. If we are called to lay down our life for our friends then that is what we must do. If we are called to suffer out of love for our friends then that is what we must do. God doesn’t expect us all to suffer as Jesus did, but he does want us to heed the call to love. If we loved everyone like Jesus did can you imagine what the world would be like? We would all get along and we would be constantly looking out for each other! The truth is, if we all loved one another there would be no suffering! There would be no murders, there would be no theft, there would be no gossiping, there would be no lies, there would be no greed. This is what Jesus is getting at. If we love as he loved then all of these sinful actions and habits would no longer exist. The only suffering would be in death and even then Jesus has the answer…..eternal life!
Love is the answer to all of our earthly problems and woes. That is why Jesus places so much importance on it by making it a commandment. If we only love just as he loves then we would have no hatred, no sinfulness. The world is sadly full of people who do not heed this call of Jesus. We are all guilty in some way of failing to listen to Christ’s message. We claim it is too difficult to achieve this utopian land where everyone loves everyone else. We are only human after all. Yet these excuses are lame. As individuals we have the power to love just as Jesus loved. We actually have that ability within us right now! Our problem, however, is putting that love to good use.
Why not set yourself a challenge to put your love to better use today. Start loving everyone you see and don’t think about their bad habits or downsides. Just love them as Jesus loves them and as Jesus loves you. That, coupled with the grace of God, will move mountains.