The Gospel according to John (15:9-11)
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I remain in your love and keep your commandments always. Open my heart and pour your love into me. Help me find my true joy in the loving gaze of my Father and my obedient response to his love.
Encountering Christ: A father’s love is of such great significance and influence in our lives. Some experience the ideal love of a kind, affectionate, and loving father while others suffer the horrors of abuse, neglect, or the absence of a father figure. As a father I know I tried my best. I believe there was plenty of the good stuff but, I also know that there were bad times. Yet my children and I survived and have relationships filled with love, affection, and forgiveness. Realizing how we have traveled so far, through the good and the bad, I am filled with the joy.
Isn’t it amazing we are all offered the same opportunity with God our Father through the love of his Son, Jesus. Well, actually, it is not the same. Because unlike us he never does anything, intentional or unintentional to hurt us. His love is perfect just as he is perfect. And the joy he intends for us to have is complete. Let’s wrap our heads and hearts around that thought, it is complete. Nothing like anything we can accomplish or offer, for our attempts to provide joy to others is often conditional or brief. God’s love lacks nothing, it is pure, therefore can only lead to a joy that lacks nothing because it is complete.
Now before we jump on the bliss train on our way to this perfect love and joy let us consider what God asks of us in order to receive this gift. Is this a condition? No! God’s love is perfect. It is up to us to take this gift by cooperating with his grace which is to obey his commandments. All of them? Yes!
Tall order, huh? Yes, but not that difficult if we focus on the greatest commandment, to love God and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Okay, maybe this one can be a little difficult but only because we fall short, not because of anything God does or does not do. Jesus is very clear in these three verses. He loves us as his Father loves him. If we are obedient, like he is, we will remain in this love so that Jesus’ joy may be is us and our joy complete.
The obedience spoken of here is not the result of obligation or fear it is a genuine response to the free and good will of the father. A love that has no conditions. Our response is never forced. We are never pushed or pulled. The offer is before us with nothing but a desire to give us what we all want and need so much, to be loved and to love. Welcome to the wonders of complete joy!
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your obedient son who came to restore our pathway to complete joy. May we respond to God’s generosity with overwhelming gratitude and a sincere desire to follow his commandments through the grace of love.
Action for the Day: In prayer, mass, or a moment of silence and awareness allow yourself to be consumed by the generosity of God’s love. Motivated and compelled by that grace endeavor to follow all his commandments through the power of love for God, neighbor, and yourself.