Love one another as I loved you
Today’s Gospel reading(John 13:31-35) touches on something most fundamental to us Christians. In the final days of his life on earth, Jesus told his disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you.” This may his parting advice but is the most important and the foundation on which our faith is based. It is the central doctrine of Christianity but the most abused and ignored by Christians and even the Church throughout the ages.
We all know how much Jesus loved us. His self-sacrificing love or agape as was called in ancient times is boundless which even cost his life. What does loving one another mean for us in the world around us?
It is may be giving some money, food, clothing or shelter to the poor and needy. It may be fighting for the oppressed and those treated unjustly. It may be consoling the sick and dying. It may be comforting the lonely and neglected. It may be holding fellowship among members of our community. Well these are all some of the ways to show our love for one another which we all should carry out as Christians.
But loving one another just as Jesus loved us is much more all these. Loving someone close to us like spouse, children, parents and siblings and loving someone who likes us is no great deal. Jesus did not only love those who loved him, he died for all even those who hurt him. We continue to hurt him by our evil in our hearts, by disobeying his commandments, by our pride, anger and greed but Jesus continues to love us. His mercy and forgiveness is infinite. In short Jesus also loves his enemies unlike us who choose to love only those who love us in return.
Today life has become so materialistic and competitive that survival has become a real challenge. Everybody wants to succeed at the expense of others. Are we willing to allow those more desperate to win in this worldly competition? By doing so we may appear the loser in the eyes of men but definitely the winner in the eyes of God. In the eyes of the Jews and the Romans who crucified him, Jesus was the loser but was he really?
Loving one another like the way Jesus love us is to love our enemies, those who compete with us, plot our downfall, and speak evil about us and even those who harm us in one way or another. Loving our enemy means ‘giving in’ to them at times and willing to forgive them when they hurt us. It also means personally seeking forgiveness from those whom we hurt. This is what Jesus himself taught us in his Lord ’s Prayer, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us”
As Jesus’ followers let us reflect on his last commandment to us. How true are to that commandment? Do we love those who hurt us by forgiving them and giving in to them? Are we willing to personally seek forgiveness from those we whom we hurt? If we can answer both these in the affirmative them we may in the right path of loving one another just as Jesus loved us. If not then it is time for us to make amends to do so in order to be his true followers.
Most of our problems take root from our hatred for our perceived ‘enemies’. Jesus’ solution for our problems is simple – love one another ,including your enemies as I loved you.
Gospel reading - 5th Sunday of Easter (2.5.10)
When he had gone, Jesus said: Now has the Son of man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.Little children, I shall be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you.It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognise you as my disciples.