“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
These words from today’s Gospel, spoken at the Last Supper, form a key part of Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples. They are words that we will often refer to, especially when rebuking someone who isn’t acting as we think they should be acting. We tell them “remember, Jesus says to love one another!” without really stopping to think about what that means, or even acknowledging that there is another part to that commandment.
The love that Jesus speaks about here is more than just a general feeling of good will towards others. Christ’s love is a love that is sacrificial in nature- it is a love that gives everything for the sake of the other person. St. Paul reminds us of this in his letter to the Romans, saying: “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” Jesus didn’t wait for us to be perfect, or demand that we needed to be worthy of his love. He freely gave us his love, and asked us to try to love others in that same way throughout our lives.
If we are going to live this commandment in our daily lives, we are called to be willing to give of ourselves for the sake of the others. This includes those that we might not ordinarily associate with, and it even means responding with love in the face of anger and hatred. This type of love is not easy, but we can live it more easily if we allow God’s grace to come into our hearts and our lives.
We live in a world that is increasingly torn apart by division and discord. As Christians, we are called to ask ourselves how we can be beacons of God’s love to the world and heal the divisions and strife that continually seek to tear us apart. As we go throughout this week, I invite you to spend some time in prayer, asking that God might help you to be more open to spreading his love to the world.
Beginning this weekend, and continuing for the next couple of weeks, our grade 2 students will be making their First Communion. Please pray for them as they receive the Lord in the Eucharist for the first time, and pray that they may continue to grow in knowledge of God’s love. Congratulations to all who are making their First Communion!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB