This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Every friendship requires work. To a large extent, friendship is conditional. Even from our human experience, to be friends with a person and remain so, there are certain unwritten requirements on both sides. When these requirements are not met, the friendship suffers. Today, Jesus tells us: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
While God’s love is constant; completely independent of our actions, our own love for God is reflected in our daily choices. God never stops loving us. He leaves the ninety-nine in search of the lost one. However, if that one sheep refuses to return with the shepherd after he has found it, God does not force it.
It is one thing to call a person your friend but a different thing for that person to recognise you as his or her friend. God considers us as His friends but the question is: How many of us relate with God as His true friends? In other words, how many of us are faithful to God’s commandments? How many of us love others as much as God loves us?
What does it mean to love one another as God has loved us? It means that we pour ourselves out for the good of our fellow brothers and sisters. To love like God is to be a Prodigal Father ever ready to forgive as many as seventy-seven times seven times.
In today’s first reading, the apostles sent a delegation to the church in Antioch, that is, the Gentile converts with this instruction: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28-29)
In other words, the apostles made it clear to the Gentiles that for them to maintain friendship with God, certain things are necessary such as abstinence from idolatry. We cannot serve both God and mammon. We cannot be friends with God and still maintain idolatrous practices such as the strangulation of animals, drinking the blood of animals, or engaging in acts of unchastity.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, teach me to love one another as you did so as to remain your friend forever and give me the grace to truly bear fruits for you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 15:22-31, Ps. 57:8-12, John 15:12-17).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu