Love is Obedience

John 14: 21-26
Acts 14:5-18 / Ps 115:1-4,15-16

Whoever observes My commandments is the one who loves me.
(John 14:21)

By His Spirit God has made us feel
The essence of His love so real,
That in turn we may also reveal
Christ’s love according to His will.

Jesus said, ‘Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.’ (John 14: 21-26)


In the three sentences of this Gospel passage (verses 21, 23 & 24), Jesus mentions the word ‘love’ seven times. But His definition of love is always in the context of obeying His commandments, and keeping His Word in our heart. The proof of our love is nothing less than our obedience. We learned how to love, and earned God’s love when we began to take God’s Word seriously in our life, and we committed to abide by everything we read in the Bible, and in the teachings of our Church.

Children who lack discipline due to parental neglect or absence, and never learn the value of obedience grow up with a serious handicap of not knowing how to express their love for others. Our daughter always made it a rule for our grandchildren to take their naps, meals, bath and study time according to schedule. No ifs or buts. My own father was a strict disciplinarian, and all his children trembled at breaking any of his rules. What I have become as a loving father and grandfather I owe in large part to him, and I will always love him for what he was.

For most of us, our parents’ love was the foundation upon which we have built our own love for our spouse and children. But conjugal and parental love are not enough to sustain the kind of love that our Lord Jesus requires from us. That was why the Holy Spirit had to come. “… the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” We have come to identify ourselves with Christ’s love through the power of His Holy Spirit. By this power, love surpasses everything, even death itself. St. Paul wrote to the Romans: “The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). Thus, if only for this privilege, there is no reason why we should not thank God, our Father everyday for all the love that He has shown us, and reciprocate in turn by loving all of His children.

Father God, help us to express our love by being obedient to Your Word, and by loving others as Jesus has commanded us to do. Through Your Holy Spirit’s power, may we be constant in our fidelity and love all the days of our life. Amen.

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