As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved 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 do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I love you.”
It is important to note that Jesus did not say love God as I love you, but to love one another. The real test of whether we love God is our passing on God’s love to others. We can’t give to God something He already has in infinite abundance, that is why our response must be to pass it on.
How does Jesus love us? I once heard a priest say God loves the most depraved person in the world, the saints, and you in exactly the same way. God’s love is unconditional; He extends it to everyone without exception. Jesus’ love is sacrificial; no one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for another. This is a love of desiring the wellbeing of the other.
Jesus loves unconditionally and sacrificially.
Do I love those who I find unlovable? Do I let fear, anger or a lack of trust block me from loving in this way?
—Chris LaMothe teaches theology at Jesuit High School in New Orleans.
Jesus, may all my prejudices be overcome by your love and help me to look upon each person as your beloved.