The gospel today summarizes what Jesus has bequeathed for us, namely the Love of the Father revealed in the Love of Jesus. Jesus urges his followers to abide in his love and to love one another. This love for neighbor must have as its model and exemplar in Christ’s love for his disciples, which made him lay down his life for them. The disciples are not Christ’s servants but his intimate friends and associates in his work. As the Father loves the Son, so does the Son love the disciples and the disciples are to love one another. Everything is interconnected and the word used is “remain”. However, the purpose of this divine mutuality is to bear fruit, meaning that the disciple must do something. Jesus says that they will bear lasting fruit in their life work if they trust in God and are motivated by true love for God and neighbor.
The disciples are commanded by Jesus to love one another as he had loved them. Jesus would be asking too much of us if he were just laying down an impossible commandment. This bring us to the important question as to how Jesus showed his love for his disciples? Jesus at the last supper after washing the feet of the disciples gave them this commandment to love one another as he has loved them. Jesus shows the depth of his love for them, becoming a servant for them. He did not serve them as a master who served his inferiors; instead he served them as an equal. The sense of equality is expressed by the term friendship. He and the disciples are friends in the deepest sense of that term. Once again Jesus repeats the commandment to love one another as he has loved them. They ought to show their love for each other as friends. Again, as friends they must be willing if necessary to lay down their lives for each other. This is the ultimate friendship. At its deepest level this is a love relationship whose source is the love of the Father and the Son and who in turn shares that love with his chosen ones. The way the disciples are to keep the presence of Jesus alive and active among them after he is gone is by keeping the commandment. They are to love one another as equals and be willing to lay down their lives for one another. This is how they are to bear fruit.
It is easy to practice the commandment of love by loving those who love us. But Jesus’ commandment of love goes beyond our usual way of loving. Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy ‘. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:44-45)”. Jesus has shown this love even from the cross as he prayed for those who crucified him.
As Christians we are called to love not only those who love us but even those who do not love us. Do you love your sister or brother who does not talk to you? What about your parents, do you love them? People whom you meet the first time, those anonymous drivers on the road, children who are lost, seniors who need help to take care of themselves, those stubborn neighbors who ignore you and of course those who rush to the church and ask you to move to the center of the pew and let you lose your comfortable position, do you love them?
Happy Mother’s day
A mother is an extra burden for an adult who has his or her own family. Mother is considered “old fashioned” to her teenager; just “Mom” to her third-grader; and simple “Mama” to the little two-year old. But there is hardly a thrill in life that can compete with pointing to that wonderful woman and be able to say to all the world: “That is my mother! That is my mom”.
The first love we feel is our mother’s as she carried us. It is as deep as an ocean, it is all encompassing and all knowing. It is a reflexive action unlike that of the father’s. Mothers who have a relationship with Jesus have a godly ability to love even in the midst of their own pain and suffering. Mothers are truly a gift from God. We pray for all mothers that they may become like God, our mother who never forgets her children. Grant Lord your blessing to all the mothers to be cared and loved by their sons and daughters until they are called to join with You.
“A truly loving heart loves God’s good pleasure, not only in consolations but also in afflictions, trials and crosses. In fact, in such cases it even loves more. Love does just this; it makes the lover ready to suffer for the beloved.”
~St. Francis de Sales