This is how Jesus wishes his disciples to do. This is the gist of the gospel today. He not only says this, but he really lives this out in loving his friends, his disciples, those who heard his voice, followed him, stayed with him, and welcomed him to be their Lord and Master. Unfortunately, this commandment of loving one another as He has loved us, has been set aside if not neglected for now, when there are many today who just take this for granted. This is so because of the prevailing culture today- the presence of many options. It sort of like, everything in life has a corresponding options…everything has a brand. Everything has rating. Everything has price. And because of these many options, we get confused in choosing which is the best one. And so it is not surprising why marriages broke up. When people think marriage no longer works, an option to separate is taken. Same thing with religious life or priesthood. When the ministry becomes a burden rather than a service, then an option of leaving the ministry or the religious life presents itself, and thus if there is no careful discernment, help and support, this can lead to confusion, disillusionment, angry and eventually neglect. Jesus said, Love one another… But this seems to be so hard now. And it seems that Jesus himself makes it more difficult when he adds,..”as I have loved you.”
It is very difficult to love as he does. It is hard to eat with people whom we know are sinners. It is hard to speak out the truth in front of the people who are in the privileged position in the society. It is hard to love our enemies. It is hard to forgive the person who have hurt us. It is hard to lay down our lives, sacrificing some things in our lives for the sake of others. It is hard to die for others. It is hard to love like Jesus…Really…
But the real problem for me now, is not that loving is hard…but because of the lack of commitment to love. Yes, we have to commit to love…Love is not a one-off thing, it is a commitment. If each of the spouse is committed to each other for life…for better or for worst, for poorer or for richer…till death do them part…then break-up in marriage might be far off. In the ministry of serving in the religious life, if a religious or a priest commits himself fully to the service of God and his people…then leaving the ministry or creating a scandal of various forms, would be far off to happen. However, we could not live out this commitment on our own. God is the one who enables us to commit, sustains us, and guides us everyday as we strive to live out this commitment of love. SO Let’s COMMIT to love another, and we would not love another one or another thing. RELATIONSHIP with Jesus, sustains in prayer…is the key to this commitment. Jesus does it and so are we.