“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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
To live a full, holy Christian life, it can seem like there are a lot of commandments and rules to follow. But between the first reading (Acts 15:22-31) and the Gospel today, what I gather is that these are not supposed to burden us. Ultimately, at the heart of the message today (and everyday) is love.
Love one another. That’s the main thing Jesus is asking of us. It’s not a love that needs justifying, and it’s not a selective love that we get to choose whom to shower it on because love is good in and of itself. Just love. In the verse preceding the Gospel passage, Jesus says “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
Who have you loved well recently?
And who is Jesus asking you to love bigger?
—Jake Derry is the Campus Ministry Associate at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
—Peace Prayer of St. Francis