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.” (John 15: 9-11)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says the most important words in the history of the world. They’re important whenever anyone says them, but the fact that God himself said them in the way that he said them makes them life-changing: “I love you,” he tells us.
But then, Jesus puts them into a context that ought to astound us: “Just as the Father loves me, I love you.” The Father loves him perfectly. The Father loves him profoundly and intimately. And Jesus tells us that he loves us in that same way. And he doesn’t merely love us “all” in that way, but he loves each of us in that way, as St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, “He loved me and gave his life for me” (Gal 2:20).
Grasping the enormity of God’s love is essential not only for the Christian life but for human life. We need the love of family, the love of friends, the spousal love of a husband or wife, the total self-giving love of someone who values us that much. Without it, we’re lost. We’re an enigma to ourselves.
And what is true in terms of human love is also true in terms of divine. There are many people who have never really experienced the love of the Lord. Their notion of the faith is perhaps an angry God, or a distant, negligent God, or a God who is a stern taskmaster making sure they fulfill all their duties lest they be punished. Many people are filled with a type of self-pity and self-hatred because they have never experienced God’s love and often don’t believe they are lovable by God or anyone else. Today Jesus says to them, and to all of us, “I love you … just as my Father loves me!”
Then Jesus gives us the most important command of the Christian life. “Remain in my love.”
It is crucial for us to remain in Christ’s love and in relationship with him because we thirst for him as well. Our world longs for perfection and satisfaction, but we will never be able to achieve this as the world sees it. The perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect grades, house, family, car – none of these can satisfy us like we often think it will. Christ knows this because he knows us intimately – “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). He did not merely make us for this short life on earth – Christ made us to live eternally with him in heaven! Christ calls us to live this calling as citizens of heaven and to follow his commandments so that we may know him and his infinite joy.
Living in his commands can be simple if we grasp this one thought. If we love God, we’re going to love what he loves. Jesus, in loving the Father, loved the Father’s will. Likewise, if we truly love the Lord and remain in his love, we will love what he loves and seek to do what he out of love wills for us and others.
Prayer of The Day
“Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with. Lord, help us to never stray and to always remain in your loving care. Lord, you choose to pour out your love and mercy on us no matter what, help us never to forget this. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
There is nothing that we can take more peace and comfort in than knowing that we have a God that loves us so much and only wants us to have the best. He is love Himself, the source of all love; and there is nothing greater in this world than loving and being loved. We have a chance to remain in the source of love, but we must choose to live by His rules, not our own. If we are obedient servants and choose to live by His commandments, then we can live in His love. If we choose to go it our own way, then we cut ourselves off from this life-giving love that He offers us.