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.
— John 15:9-17
The peace of the Lord be with you. The message today from the gospel is crystal clear, we are called to love one another as we have been loved. In our day and time we throw the word love around a lot. I love my truck, I love my job, I love this place, and the list goes on. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with appreciating people, places, and things in our life — these are gifts of God. Bishop Baron says the truest sense of the word love is “willing the betterment of the other.” This is at the very heart of who God is and what God does. Because we are his children, we are called to be a reflection of that love in our place and time.
In the Gospel today we are reminded that it is when we place the well-being of others before our own that we are most the Godly, the most Christlike. God is love, and because God is the author of life, to be loving is to be life-giving. The mystery of this form of love demonstrates that in reality there is no difference between love of neighbor and love of self. Neither are diminished, but to the contrary, are enhanced by this expression of love.
Heavenly Father, author of life — you made creation not out of need, but as an expression of selfless love that in turn reflects your glory and your goodness. Filled with gratitude for this love that gives us life, may we glorify you by being vessels of this love through our thoughts, intentions, and actions. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.