"Jesus said to his disciples:“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.Remain in my love.If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.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.You are my friends if you do what I command you.I no longer call you slaves,because a slave does not know what his master is doing.I have called you friends,because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.This I command you: love one another.” (John 15:9-17)
Obedience to Christ can seem as a burden to us when we forget that we are God's beloved. Today's Gospel reminds us of the love through which our Lord sends us out into the world so that His joy might be in us and our joy complete.
When we confuse our concept of joy with fleeting happiness, or ideas about freedom rooted in our own limited sense of control, then we fail to remain in the love of our Lord.
Today we are reminded that we are not slaves to a master up to cunning tricks or hidden agendas, but are loved unconditionally without measure. So often we can forget and lose sight of the love of God at the foundation of His commands and become slaves to ourselves. As a result we are often void of joy and imprisoned in disappointment.
It is hard to follow God's commandments when we lose sight of love. love is the one thing that we yearn for in the depth of our being because we are authentically made in love for love. We are created by Love.
To love as Christ commands us is only possible by remaining in His love, and by seeking in prayer for the courage and the strength to love radically even when it is difficult. The ability to love authentically flows from the primacy of our love of God.
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that "to love is to will the good of the other" when we only seek the good of ourselves then our love is limited, it is not love at all. By remaining in the love of God we do not expect others to be as a god to us and fulfil us by being blamelessly perfect. When we see others in the light of Christ's love we are free to love them as they are. We are able to reconcile disappointments and shortcomings.
The first step toward love is to reflect upon the Lord's love for us. We are invited to love as He loves. By faith we will come to understand the implications of Christ's love for us, and we are then able to go forth and love one another. (CC)