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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Loving As God Loves - 2 (Loving One Another Part 15)

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Today’s gospel: John 13:21-38

At the last supper, Jesus told his disciples about loving one another. “I give you a new commandment: love one another.” (v.34a). Actually, God had already given His chosen people this command. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Lv 19:18b). What was new about Jesus’ command? It is this: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (v.34b).

Are we Christians not aware of the call to love? We are. Love is the primary virtue and characteristic of a Christian. But while we might strive to love, on what standard do we base our love? We love only those who love us? Those whom we like? Those who are close to us? Those who treat us well?

If the standard is how Jesus has loved us, then there is no limitation to such love. The love of Jesus is unilateral, unconditional and self-sacrificial. He loved even those who betrayed, denied, abandoned, ridiculed and persecuted him. He lived out the command to love one’s enemy.

This is the great challenge for us. In loving, we need to look to Jesus. In loving, we need to love as Jesus loves. He is patient, tolerant, forbearing, forgiving, merciful. He wants only what is best for all. His love is intended to bring people to salvation.

Since such love is Jesus’ command to us, then we have to obey. But there is one more thing. We as Christians are supposed to be disciples of Jesus. We are to do the will of the Master. As disciples, we do the work of Jesus. As disciples, we are living witnesses to Christ. How then do we know we are fulfilling this mandate? This is what Jesus says: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (v.35).

This is the challenge. This is the benchmark. This is the proof that we indeed have decided to follow Jesus. And many Christians fail in this. There is discord between husband and wife. There are conflicts within Christian community. There is gossip, envy, backbiting and slander among Christian brethren.

Christians who act in such ways disparage the Christ whom they profess to follow. Instead of attracting people by their witness, they turn people off and away.

On the other hand, the early Christians really bore good witness to the world, and people came to faith in Jesus when they saw how they related to one another. “See how they love one another.” When our Church was established on the day of Pentecost, the believers acted with devotion, with fraternal care and concern, with joyful fellowship, always “praising God and enjoying favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47a). They were effective witnesses. The effect? “And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47b).

Jesus gave his new commandment of love, not only because God is love, but in order to further the salvation of the world. Jesus’ ultimate act of love was dying for us on the cross. We too are to live for others, even giving our lives for the cause of Christ. The only way to love is to love as Jesus loves, starting with our brethren in Christ.

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