The Gospel of St. John is often referred to as the “Gospel of Love”, because his views are so much identified with the words of Jesus Christ, to whom he stood “more closely related than any other disciple, that it is difficult to separate them.” St. John speaks from personal experiences and testifies of that which his eyes have seen, his ears have heard and his hands have handled, of the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. His Gospel can be summed up in the words: God first loved us. He exhorts us therefore to love Him and our fellowmen.
The past week’s Gospel readings continue to speak of God’s love for us. It started with the Lord telling us that,
“He who obeys the commandments he has from me, is the one who loves me, and he who loves me, will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and reveal myself to him.” (Jn. 14: 21)
Further he said, “He who does not love me, does not keep my words.” (Jn. 14: 24)
The Lord is telling us that the proof of loving him is obedience to his commandments. We can’t say we love him and yet do the contrary. This is difficult in the light of the challenges that we encounter in this earthly pilgrimage. But Jesus tells us not “…to be distressed or fearful.” He offers us his peace and assures us of the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us.
Christ’s life is the perfect example of a life lived in absolute love. We don’t need to look far, we only have to look at the Cross. He did everything for love and obedience to the Father. “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:13) He set the example and yearns for us to do the same.
“Do everything with love” is one of my favorite verses. (1 Cor. 16: 14) Anything we do in life should be done out of love, whether it is work or play. Doing service or even going to Church shouldn’t be seen as an obligation, but one that’s done out of love for Jesus. While yes, it is an obligation, as a practicing Catholic, we should view Sunday Mass as a love offering for God. We can never repay His goodness but we should try to show our gratitude for his blessings, protection and mercy. There is a lot of beauty and benefit in doing all things with love. Try it, I’ve experienced it myself!
Finally, let us remember that there is a “twist” to all that we’ve been told all along: love is not an option, but a commandment:
“This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn. 15: 12)
In my life, Jesus matters much. Despite my weaknesses, I will continue trying to love and obey Him. I am grateful to him, for his kindness and mercy knows no limits.