Remain in His Love

John 15: 9-11
Acts 15:7-21 / Ps 96:1-2,2-3,10

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love.
(John 15:9)

If we must preach, then take aside
Those who do not know what love means;
Tell them about Jesus, Who died
In seeking pardon for our sins.

Jesus told His apostles, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands 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)

Reflection

We can only wonder why thousands of books and articles have been written about love, and yet the world is still mired in conflicts, distrust and prejudices. While it may be true that our differences in culture, tradition and religion may be the main causes of strife and misunderstandings, all peoples on earth yearn for conciliation, peace, trust and respect, which are values and ideals common to us all. St. Paul wrote, “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col.3:14). This kind of love, however, is what many people still vaguely understand, and need to learn. It is not a human feeling, but a divine mandate, a commandment. Jesus said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mat.22:37-39) St. John wrote, “We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 Jn.4:19-21).

St. Paul describes love as “patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor.13:4-7). But the most important quality of love which perfectly personified our Lord Jesus Christ is forgiveness. If only all the peoples in the world’s conflict areas practice this virtue that our Lord exemplified in Calvary, then true peace will truly reign on earth.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” goes a caption from an old love story film. We beg to disagree. In truth, love means knowing how to say you’re sorry. “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,” says in Proverbs (17:9) Remorse is always the first step to reconciliation. Only those who have no remorse propagate the culture of hatred, and they certainly do not know what real love is. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn.4:8)

The kind of love that our Lord Jesus speaks of is a special grace that His 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 must therefore strive to propagate what we have already received.

Father God, our Lord Jesus proved his love for us by humbling Himself, becoming man, even dying painfully as a sacrifice for our sins. Help us to be able to reciprocate that love through acts of mercy and kindness to others in need of His love. Amen.

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