Love As I Have Loved

cheer_up_the_lonelyToday’s gospel begins with God, not us. It describes in sweeping detail the unparal­leled, intimate relationship to which the Father and Jesus invite us: chosen by them, given a share in their joy, called friends by them, told everything by them, appointed by them to bear fruit, and given whatever we ask in Jesus’ name. In response, we are to incarnate this divine-human relationship in our re­lationships with each other: “love one another as I love you.” God’s love is so freely and lavishly given. In turn, we are to empty ourselves and give that love to those we meet. We are not to love on our terms; we are to love as Jesus has loved us. This love is demanding; this is the only love that brings us lasting joy.
Yes, the command is simple: “love one another.” The demand is imposing: lay down our lives. Keeping God’s commandments is laying down our lives—we surrender our will to doing God’s will and in this is the dying. Caring for and reaching out to others is laying down our lives—also a dying. Doing the little things every day not because we have to but because we see the other as the be­loved of God is dying. We choose all these and other ways of dying because we know this is love and love is risen Life rising to kiss us with a share in divinity. And our joy is complete when we love in this way—as Jesus loves us.