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Jesus’ commandment

Gospel Reading: Jn 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.”

In the Synoptic gospels, Jesus’ core command is expressed in the “first and greatest” of the commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength… You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk 12:30-31). In John, the commandment is expressed as love for one another.

This sounds rather exclusive, different from the Synoptic version. But what is emphasized here is the font and measure of love: the love of Jesus. And the love of Jesus is but a reflection of God’s love.

While it seems confined to the community of disciples, the commandment of love in John becomes a force for apostolic dynamism: people will recognize those who belong to Christ by their love for one another (cf Jn 13:35). Moreover, the degree of love is expanded from self-love to God’s love for us, which is much deeper than our self-love. Nobody really hates himself, but there are times when people give up on themselves and on their lives. But God is greater than our hearts! God’s love or Jesus’ love as measure of our love opens a broader panorama in the living of that love.

How deep is your love? What is the measure of that love?

How far will you go to manifest that love?

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