John 15: 9-11
Acts 15:7-21 / Ps 96:1-3,10
As the Father loves me, so I also love you; remain in my love.
Your Word, O God, is the beacon
That dispelled the darkness of sin;
With Your love there is no reason
The marketplace we cannot win.
Jesus told His apostles, “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 may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11)
Have you ever wondered what motivated all the saints and martyrs to dedicate their lives to the point of death for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel? In the midst of persecution, they seemed to be in a state of immeasurable joy. Instead of fear for their imminent death, they welcomed it like a loving friend. It was simply God’s love, the love that conquers all that fired their motivation to stand up for their belief. Since they had all been true to God’s commandments, and remained in Christ’s love, they were all immersed completely in His joy, displacing all fears, doubts and even physical pains. Even death had lost its sting, because it became a doorway to eternal bliss in the Father’s kingdom.
The kind of love that our Lord Jesus speaks of is a special grace that the Father gives to those who are steadfast in their obedience and in their faith. We can never outdo God in love because His love is without measure. Our love for others is merely a reflection of God’s love, and a natural response to his boundless compassion and mercy. We cannot help but give what we have already received.
In today’s first reading, Peter told his companions, “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith… We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are” (Acts 15:7-9,11). This passage is so relevant to us in our renewal community at this time, as we are conducting a Brotherhood Christian Life Program (our first as a new chapter) for the benefit of more than ten couples and other singles for nine Saturdays. Giving our time, effort and resources in conducting this seminar is following Jesus’ will for us to love and serve others as He has loved us.
St. Paul tells us that there is always reason for hope, since God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us (Rom.5:5). Jesus proved his love for us by humbling Himself, becoming human, and even dying painfully as a sacrifice for our sins. How else can we reciprocate that love?
Lord, inflame our hearts in serving with love You and our beloved community. May our sacrifices in spreading Your Gospel messages be worthy of Your great love. Amen.