“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” When people watch us, do they know that we are the disciples of Jesus?
As Christians, we are called to do more than love the Lord. We are called to be his witnesses in the world by loving others as well. In today’s Gospel reading, he gave us a new commandment, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Anyone, everyone, should be able to look at us and see this love in action. If we are not witnesses to this love, then we are falling short of our mission.
So, how did Jesus love us? Selflessly. His love was never motivated by personal gain. On the contrary, he often suffered for us, and not just on the cross. He faced rejection and animosity for loving those who were considered “unlovable” in his culture. He lived a life of poverty and simplicity, never focused on amassing things for himself, but always willing to give of himself. This is the love we are called to imitate.
The task can feel daunting. We are not perfect people, and being witnesses to Christ-like love can strike us as a lofty challenge. Of course, it’s easier to be selfless and generous with people who love us in return, or with those who stir our compassion. But to be consistent witnesses to loving one another in all circumstances–like Jesus does for us–that takes it to another level. Thankfully, however, Jesus doesn’t expect us to do this on our own. He promises us his Spirit to live in us and love through us. Through our baptism, we have his Spirit dwelling in our hearts, along with the supernatural gifts of faith, hope, and love. May we make these gifts flourish.
Reflection courtesy of Liturgical Publications Inc.