The Gospel according to John (John 15:9-17)
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 may be in you and your joy may be complete. 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: I enter your presence today, Lord, with gratitude for your friendship. You take part in my joys and sorrows. You never tire of listening to me and doing good for me. You are patient with my faults and are always willing to receive me when I return to you. May I grow in true friendship with you.
Encountering Christ: This week we hear almost the same gospel as last Friday except that we are reminded very directly that Jesus loves us in the same way as the Father loves Jesus. That may seem redundant or elementary, but in reality it reminds us that Jesus and the Father are one and their love for us – not only is unfailing – but is complete and we must remember to always remain in their love.
When we love as both the Father and Jesus do, we remain in the greatest love relationship that is possible. We are called not to hold onto that love but after experiencing it ourselves we are challenged to take that love out into our world and share it. We are called to boldly share and exhibit it in ALL that we do. So that means not just sometimes – BUT – all the time!
If we want to experience real JOY – then we have to work at being loving toward others and ourselves. That isn’t always easy to do, but we are called to try.
So now the next part of this gospel challenges us to lay down our own lives – or agendas – and follow what Jesus has already demonstrated for us throughout the gospels, that is to daily journey looking to spread the good news of the Father AND to show works of mercy and compassion as we go about our day.
Last week I attached a video file about how we can make change is this crazy world. I hope you watched it! If not, then here is a second chance AND don’t miss this one….. Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/545685627. It was entitled “Could this be You?”.
The whole point is – we have to be ready to leave our comfort zones and venture out into an angry and often-misguided society that has risk involved for us. The risk is that we could be verbally abused for our compassionate concerns for others OR we could be labeled as someone who isn’t in touch with the real world OR that we are just vulnerable to be made fun of. In any case – we are called to take that risk. As Jesus tells us last Friday and today….. “Love one another!”
When we are willing to take that risk to love rather than ignore we can truly say that we are the followers of the Father and Jesus. We can also say that we are in relationship with our God by living his greatest command.
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are my dearest friend. I have a deep desire to be with you constantly, but I am weak. My flaws still hold me back. Help me to purify my friendship with you and to let go of those things that do not glorify you. Teach me how to love the unlovable in my life and to grow in maturity in my friendship with others as well.
Action for the Day: Spend time today thinking about how to best serve God through serving someone in need around you.