Measure of Love
Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12
The Scriptures are all about the heart! The heart is talked about over 1000 times in the Bible! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deut 6:5 The Hebrew is explicit. kôl is the word for all. Augustine’s beautiful quote gives us the force of kol. “Christ is not valued at all, unless He is valued above all!”
The total love of God is deeply fused with love for others. “This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “ Mt 22:39 In John’s Gospel the ante is up much more when Jesus tells us that we must love others much more than ourselves. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” We must love others as Jesus loves them. To our weak human nature this seems impossible as Jesus gave His life for others in a most painful way!
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The measure of our discipleship is the measure of our hearts. Some time ago I had a “myocardial-perfusion-imaging-mpi-test “ a non-invasive imaging test where you can actually see your heart pumping away on a screen in real time. It was a scary but awesome experience for me. The great push of the preaching of Jesus is on the inside of the heart, rather than the outside of appearances.
“So you also outwardly (exōthen GreekNT) appear righteous to others, but within (esōthen Greek) you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “ Mt 23:28. The inside is the heart. How much heart do I have on the inside (esōthen). Do I have the courage to look at my heart?
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.