“…love one another as I love you…”
As we continue to experience the risen Jesus this Easter Season we are today encouraged in our discipleship and our stewardship of the Good News of God’s love in Jesus. Love is to be our driving force!
The Gospel selection is a very familiar selection from John 15: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you…no one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…” These powerful words reveal the Sacred Heart of Jesus that enabled him to minister, to suffer, and even die…for all of creation! The passage goes on to remind the disciples (and us!) that we are divinely chosen to be God’s friends, so alive with the message of God’s love that we radiate God’s love in our words and deeds. What a blessing! And a challenge…
Paul and Barnabas and the early Christians were invited to let that love come alive as they travelled on mission to spread the News of Jesus and help grow the early Church. Their love for God enabled them to creatively meet the challenges they had to face in addressing the complexities of life and culture and education; the gift of divine love transforms everything and everyone!
Divine Love is not to be a stranger in our lives as 21st Century Christians. Jesus’ words hold true for us: Love…as He loves! What about God’s love in us? Are we patient with others, and ourselves? Do we really listen to one another? Do small things get in the way of healthy relationships? Are we people of peace, of justice? Does selfishness hold us back from truly loving, in and through Jesus?
We may not receive a simple, bold exhortation as was delivered by Paul and Barnabas to the Church in Antioch; Jesus’ encouragement to love may not always seem so bold and convincing – and yet our renewed Easter Faith strengthens our hearts and gives direction to our lives. Our 21st Century world desperately needs the love of Jesus and our love as His disciples. As family and friends, let’s take Jesus’ message to heart…and to life! To God be the glory…Amen!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.