Jesus said to his disciples, «This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this, to give one's life for one's friends; and you are my friends if you do what I command you. I shall not call you servants any more, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father. You did not choose me; it was I who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This is my command, that you love one another».
The word ‘love’ is very often misunderstood or partially understood. Without fully understanding this word, it is impossible to understand this gospel message. Even act of love need not of love in itself. Let me explain this concept better.
Love is an act. However this act is the culmination of other elements which are very often remain invisible to our eyes. I understand this term as the amalgamation of three elements of essentials of life. The first and foremost, it is a feeling for the other person. This feeling or the sentiment for the other pushes me to get closer to the person and I feel very closer to the person. This closeness or the proximity reduces the distance and the space in between the two person. This proximity helps me to know the person and understand the essence of the other. This knowing of the person helps me, not only to know the needs of the person, but also all that I can do to help this person to grow as the child of God or help the person to be a liberated person and just in front of God. Thus I engage in a concrete way for his or her well-being. This engagement is the fruit of three different movements which are invisible to the eyes.
We can have the same act without knowing the person. Thus an act of love need not be necessarily love. When I say God is love, I mean that God feels for me and close to me. He knows me and engages for my well-being. The life of Jesus thus not only an act of love, it is love itself. With this philosophy of love, if you reread the gospel, I hope you will understand how Jesus loved us and loves us, but also will help us to put in act our acts in a right direction. It is important for the application to ask this question, when we say, ‘I love God’, do we understand our love according to the same understanding of this philosophy or what is our definition of love and love of Jesus?
«This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you»
Fr. Carles ELÍAS i Cao
Today, our Lord exhorts us to fraternal love: «Love one another as I have loved you» (Jn 15:12), that is to say, as you have seen me loving and you will still see me love. Jesus speaks to you as a friend, for He has told you that his Father calls you, that He wants you to become an apostle, and that He expects you to bear fruit, a fruit that is manifested through love. St. John Crysostom affirms: «If love would be spread all over, an infinite goodness would be born out of it».
To give love amounts to create life. Spouses know it well, for they love each other, they make a reciprocal donation and they assume the responsibility of becoming parents by accepting, at the same time, the abnegation and self-denial of their time and their own being in favour of those they must take care of, must protect, must educate and, in short, must form as persons. Missionaries know it too, when they offer their life for the Gospel, with the same Christian spirit of sacrifice and abnegation. And friars, priests and bishops also know it, and with them all of Jesus' disciples who commit themselves to our Savior.
A little before, Jesus already told you which the requirements for love and bearing fruit are: «Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit» (Jn 12:24). Jesus invites you to lose your life, to deliver it to Him without any fear, to willingly die, if need be, to be able to love your brother with Christ's love, with supernatural love. Jesus invites you to attain an operative, benefactor and concrete love; this is how apostle James understood it when he said: «Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead» (2:15-17).