The Gospel according to John (John 15:12-17)
Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love 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 no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling me your friend and sharing all that the Father has told you. Bless me as I hear your word and help it strengthen me in my mission as your disciple and friend.
Encountering Christ: Pretty powerful gospel today, right???
Twice in this short and simple gospel Jesus not only tells us BUT he commands us to love one another. There has to be something to that don’t you think? Else why would he say it twice?
Think for a moment about our world today and how we have moved to becoming a hate-motivated society. You might disagree with that statement, but you only need to look as far as your TV set and see the news about how we are increasing our hate and disdain for one another. We are beating and killing each other in record numbers! Sure we blame the pandemic for all these problems, and if it isn’t the pandemic – then it’s the political leaders for sure. I’m going to add law enforcement here as the runner up for being some of the most hated servants currently in our society. Whatever group it is that is targeted for the blame – we must remember that is isn’t all the politicians or law enforcement and it surely is not any one specific ethnic group.
My whole point of these examples is that we seem to need to find the placement of blame outside our own lives. The real question is – do we honestly see any of these biases in our own lives? Take a good look and be honest. We all have room for improvement in the way we treat each other. Hopefully we truly are the disciples that Jesus is addressing. We are called to be a loving people – and that begins with ourselves. Do we love ourselves and see ourselves as the temples of the Holy Spirit that Jesus wants as ambassadors to the outside world. We have to grow that part of ourselves first in order to go out and be those ambassadors for Jesus.
How often do we see others around us who berate and belittle people in their daily conversations? We see the rudeness and disrespect almost daily in our going about our routines. So often we see others that are simply taken for granted. I surely see it – and I bet you do to. If you don’t, then try taking a closer look for a few days and see what you come up with.
So how do we go about living out the command of Jesus? Simple really…. But first we have to take to heart and reflect on Jesus’ words that He chose YOU and He appoints YOU – not the guy next door – YOU ! – to go out into the world and bear the fruit of peace and love. You have to take some extra time also to really plant that fruit of peace and love. It takes time and it also takes determination on our part.
Let’s see then……How often do you take time to thank the person you see clearing the tables at the restaurant? Do you take the opportunity to say, “Thanks for what you do” OR even “how’s your day going”. Simple, easy and often overlooked! Here is one for you to try – it’s not easy or for the faint of heart…. How about that beggar on the street corner? Have you ever taken the time to say to him/her “Hey! I don’t have any money to help you out today but I promise to pray for you”. That probably isn’t the response they are looking for – BUT – you are acknowledging them as a child of God…that they have worth and are worth speaking to AND praying for!
Jesus specifically said and acknowledged us as friends IF we will spread his love and part of that act is simple kindness to others. Jesus also assures us that when we do as he asks – we are truly friends of the Father. Pretty powerful!
Think about how this gospel needs to be lived by this crazy mixed up world we live in. Issue is, this world is the only one we have in this lifetime. We are called to work to help improve it rather than tear it down. We can then look forward to the next life that is promised and we will be those good and faithful servants!
Closing Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling me to yourself. Thank you for equipping me with everything I need to serve and love you and others. Thank you for saving me and purchasing me with your own precious Body and Blood. Help me to be fruitful in all that I do by offering all my prayers, works, joys, and suffering in union with your own sacrifice of love. Help me to bear fruit that will remain for your glory alone.
Action for the Day: Lord, today by your grace I will examine my day and consider how I will bear fruit that will remain. Help me to plan my day so as to bring peace and joy to someone I don’t even know. Help me bring focus to my faith by my actions for others.
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