May 15, 2017
Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him. (John 14:21-26)
The Gospel of John is packed with references to love. Yesterday’s Gospel passage revealed Jesus’ new commandment: love one another. Today, we read, Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him.
When delivering a homily a few years back, I spoke of how challenging it is to follow the commandment to love one another, at least to follow it the way Jesus intends. The challenge comes in loving others when they are not so lovable.
After Mass, I had a parishioner tell me that he wished I had defined love in the course of the homily. I responded with a smile that I only had 7-8 minutes with which to work. As we talked, he explained that he has difficulty understanding what it means to love everyone.
I am not a love guru by any means, but I shared my thoughts with him. I told it might be easier to wrap his mind around loving acts. We love others as Jesus intends through loving acts.
I get in an argument with a co-worker and we are angry with one another. I may not be ready to hug him or invite him to lunch right away, but I can love him as Jesus intends through the loving act of forgiveness or tolerance.
I choose to go out and serve the homeless twice per month. When I do that, I am not only loving those I serve. I am loving as Jesus intends. Through the loving act of of serving the homeless, I am loving all of the homeless, the poor, and the disenfranchised, many of whom I will never meet.
The loving act of prayer allows us to love as Jesus intends. We may feel like we cannot touch the lives of all who suffer, so many who need our love – but we can pray for them.
We can’t put an end to war on our own. We can however, exhibit the loving act of peacefulness.
It is incredibly challenging to love as Jesus intends us to love. Breaking the challenge up into small loving acts may make it more manageable for us.