Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
Following Jesus using the image of the vine and the branches to describe the intimate relationship between himself and his followers, he continued at the Last Supper to urge his disciples to abide in his love to love one another. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples how this love can be lived out.
As in his previous discourse to his disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus points out that the Father is the source of all his works and through him the disciples would reach God, the Father. Thus, he begins in today’s gospel with his relations with the Father and stresses that the Father loves the Son with an infinite love. In the similar vein, as the Son, Jesus’ love for his followers, whom are represented by the disciples, is also infinite. What is more at this point, Jesus tries to show to them that he who is a man and loves the disciples with an infinite love meaning that it is as complete as human love can be.
How one can love with an infinite love? Jesus says it is very simple. That is to keep God’s commandments like he keeps his Father’s commandments. For us, keeping the commandments is our way of proving our love for Jesus Christ. Being a fellow human among us, Jesus knows we would like to ask further how to keep the commandments. Again, his answer is simply. We should be like him, who is a man among us, obeyed every wish and command of the Father to the extent “not my will but thine be done”.
Jesus Christ loves his friends so intensely that he gave his life for us. His relationship with his disciples was that of master and servant, for he had brought them into the intimacy of the divine family. He had revealed the Father to them during his years with them. He had made them adopted sons of the Father. Thus, their relationship was very close and intimate.
The vocation of the disciples was Jesus’ free gift to them because it was he who chose them not they him. They would bear fruit for heaven by saving souls. While the disciples and we continue to work for the Father, Jesus Christ is their and our mediator with God. When our petitions to the Father are made through him, they will be answered because by his life, death and resurrection he has earned for us all spiritual and where necessary for the spiritual, temporal rewards.
In the closing of his discourse, Jesus reminded the disciples and us the second of the greatest commandments, “love thy neighbor”.
Since God gives us a free will, we can in a moment of folly, a moment of anger, or a moment of madness, fling Jesus Christ’s gift of love back in his face and tell him we don’t want it without thinking that it is a marvelous thing to be alive in whatever situation if we have hope in a future life; a life which Jesus Christ has won for us. Amen.