Love One Another

May the splendor of the risen Christ fill your hearts and minds!

Jesus tells us this weekend that “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.”

In this Gospel the word love is used many times. In everyday life we hear the word love used frequently and in a lot of different ways: I love sunsets, I love whipped cream and peanuts on top of my banana split, I love family gatherings, and etc. All of which are good things and it is important that we have them. But when we go beyond the things that we like or being open only to things that conform to what we think they should be, we begin to understand what Jesus is saying. It’s good to remind ourselves that Jesus had to make a human effort to keep his Father’s commandments in order to remain in his love and so in like manner we have to make an effort to remain in God’s same love.

We know that the core of the love that he calls us to is a sacrificial, self-surrendering love. It is a kind of giving that focuses completely on God and the other person. Like a boy who gives his coat and hat to his sister to keep her warm and protect her from the cold. Or a mother who rises early to prepare meals and make sure her family has clean clothes to wear and food to eat. Or a father who is always watchful for the safety and well-being of his wife and children repairing the house or the car and lots of other things.

Many of us really enjoy making sacrifices for others and I know that is because the Spirit of Jesus lives within us. We do especially well when we surrender our hearts and desires to God and give the sacrifices we make to those we love or think well of. Today Jesus calls us deeper. Another part of the giving we do is forgiving. In order to remain in God’s love like Jesus, he shows us how to forgive. Fathers must be ready to forgive sons. Sons must be ready to forgive fathers just like mothers must be ready to forgive daughters and daughters must be ready to forgive mothers. Brothers and sisters must be ready to forgive each other and friends must also be ready to forgive each other. Then Jesus calls even deeper when he commands us to love our enemies. He says  Bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you. If we do what he commands, we can remain in his love!

May God give you strength in mercy! +++ Fr. Peter

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