This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
In a world of growing injustices; violence unleashed on innocent citizens, leaders refusing to rise up to their responsibilities, and in a world where Christians are victims of unprovoked attacks, one is tempted to wonder if Jesus was right when he preached love in place of hate.
We all desire to be happy and to live joyful and healthy lives but the problem is that not everyone knows how to find this happiness. In fact, for many, the only way they think they can be happy is by unleashing pain on others.
The truth is that, as that nursery rhyme goes, “The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here and the way to be happy is to make someone happy and we would have a little heaven down here.” The key to our greatest happiness is not revenge but love.
Jesus tells us today: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12)
When Jesus was arrested, Peter took out a sword and struck the ear of Malchus, a slave to the high priest, and to the amazement of everyone, Jesus put back the ear in place and made an amazing statement: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52). Love is more powerful than hate! The fullness of joy we desire will not come from hating and destroying others but from loving our neighbours as well as our enemies as ourselves.
Our first reading today contains minutes of the first general assembly of bishops of the church. There was a debate on the matter of circumcision as a requirement for newly converted Gentiles to the Christian faith. A conclusion was reached that these converts were not to be burdened with circumcision rather, they were to abstain from idol worship, unchastity, strangled meat, and blood.
Underneath this decision was a recognition that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross supersedes the act of circumcision but more importantly, this decision was reached in the spirit of love for the Gentiles. When we love, we would not discriminate.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help us to remain in your love by loving as you loved. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 15:7-21, Ps. 96:1-3,10, John 15:9-11).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu