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The vine and the branches

Gospel Reading: Jn 15:9-17

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. 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.”

REFLECTION Love one another
The words may sound romantic, charged with positive energy. This commandment, however, summarizes what Jesus wants from his disciples who have been trying to understand his teachings since he called them. Before he ascends into heaven, Jesus leaves them not a wishy-washy cliché, but rather a tall order: to love one another. Jesus is addressing himself to adults, not to children. Taking the whole context, we discern what Jesus means by loving one another and how the disciples will reciprocate with one another. Soon they will be sent, powered by the Holy Spirit.

The commandment of love is a question of how they will relate to one another, not how they will design programs that are impersonal. To go on mission as apostles is to be able to give support to one another, if needed, to die for their fellow apostles.

It is not only Jesus who lays down his life. He sets a precedent. They must follow his example; they will give their own lives as well. The apostles should find it easy to follow because Jesus has revealed everything to them as his friends. The commandment should be easy to remember because it is his last will and testament. The Holy Spirit is with them to help them live it.

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Are you a friend of Jesus willing to keep his commandment of love?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.