“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

Continuing on (Jn 15:12-17), Jesus addresses His apostles with the words above.  He goes on to speak of the greatest love as being that in which one dies for a friend.  We remain in His friendship by doing as He commands; we know His commands because He has told us everything the Father has told Him to convey.  Jesus chose the apostles to “bear fruit that will remain” (v. 16) by loving one another.  Now, this commandment is very difficult for us.  Christ’s love for each person is infinite and never wavers regardless of what we do to spurn Him or other persons.  He always welcomes the sinner and desires to pour out His mercy on us.  The only way we don’t get this forgiveness and mercy is by rejecting and parting ways with Him.  Can we say that we have this same attitude towards our fellow man and ourselves (learning to forgive oneself and believing in and accepting God’s mercy is sometimes the most difficult task)?  Do we show love when rejected, spurned, or devastated by a friend or grievously hurt by a foe?  This is very difficult, and most people will understand or even promote an attitude of anger or vengefulness.  But the stories that make headlines are ones of radical forgiveness and love under the most horrible circumstances.  The Greatest Story Ever Told is the primary one, in which the torture and killing of God is responded to with love and mercy (“Father, forgive them…” [Lk 23:34]) .  It is in this Book that we receive the commandment (not suggestion) to love.  Only in this way can we stay in Christ’s friendship.  With friends like that we don’t have enemies.

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