“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.” (John 15:12-17)
“Love one another.”
The beauty and the power of those words have reverberated throughout Christianity since they were first uttered.
On the face of it, the words are simple. But to most, the power of living those words seems almost herculean. After all, as humans, we are subject to human frailties . . . anger, self-pity, inadequacy, emotions, sadness, fatigue and more. How can we rise to the challenge of loving one another as He loved us?
We can IF we focus on a key phrase of this discourse by Jesus. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” We live in a time when we have deep fear about our personal powerlessness. Institutions and problems seem to not only dwarf us but to consume us. But we are not powerless. God created us for a purpose. Jesus reminds us that each of us is chosen. Yes, you and I have been chosen. We need to internalize that before we can open ourselves to the task of loving.
But even more empowering is that Jesus promises that our love will not only bear fruit, but fruit which abides. In other words, lives motivated by love have meaning. They’re fertile. They’re powerful. They live. Think for a moment of the child you were or a child that was part of you. Isn’t that love powerful? Isn’t that love a thing of beauty? Isn’t that love a treasure? You chose, either through parentage, or adoption, or family to foster that love. Having fostered that love, there is nothing that you would not do . . . including laying down your life for that love.
Again, reflect, understand and then embrace the fact that you are chosen by God. Chosen to be part of His plan of salvation. You and I are not mere mortals or pawns on a chessboard. You and I are individuals chosen to fulfill His gospel of love.
And once we grasp it, then we need to understand that we are fueled by a power far greater than we could imagine. Jesus tells us that he is our friend and he loves us whole-heartedly and unconditionally. He wants us to love one another just as he loves us, whole-heartedly and without reserve. His love fills our hearts and transforms our minds and frees us to give ourselves in loving service to others. If we open our hearts to his love and obey his command to love our neighbor, then we will bear much fruit in our lives, fruit that will last for eternity.
Remember those words. You are chosen. You are appointed. Your witness of love will and does enable others to love, to believe and to hold on to His promise. May God grant each of us the unselfish love to hear His voice . . . and the courage to act on it by following His call.
Prayer of The Day
“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola)
No matter how “unqualified” we may feel at times to make a difference, we must remember that God does not see us that way. Rather, He sees the infinite potential within each of us and chooses to use that potential for the building up of His Kingdom. Reflect, this day, on those two short phrases: “I have chosen you” and “Go and bear fruit.” Accepting your call from God will change your life and will also change the lives of those whom you are called to serve.