A Reflection on John 15:9-17
By Fr. DJ Garcia, CJM
God chose us to be his friends. A friendship that is based on love. At the heart of friendship is the willingness to share deeply. Jesus, showed this kind of friendship to all, and much more, because he has made known to us his intimate relationship with his Father. He does this by revealing his inner depth to us, his heart and soul—manifested in his words and deeds--- and we get a glimpse of the love that permeates in this relationship. A love that he offers as a gift so that we can love as he commands us. In choosing us to be his friends, Jesus also calls us to be loving towards all his friends.
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love…. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
The Father’s love overflows to and through Jesus and Jesus’ love overflows to and through us. An unconditional love that accepts us not only when we are good and faithful but more so even in our unfaithfulness and rotten state.
We are invited to remain in His love so that we may be transformed by it and be empowered to love one another. The love that we are called to express is more than a feel-good moment. It demands that we put our own needs, wants, and desire aside to serve and love the other. It calls us to a dying to oneself, entailing sacrifice for the good of the beloved. Thus, it transcends our negative feelings towards others, and to love even the undeserving of our love, the mean-spirited, the ungrateful.
It goes beyond boundaries that we set for ourselves. This love becomes possible only when we remain in His love for from the abundance of God’s love for us we become vessels of God’s love for others. Just as God’s love is life-giving so too, our love ought to be life-giving.
This love is never abstract but is always in the concrete. To love one another is to do acts of love for the physical and spiritual well-being of the other. The love that Jesus calls us to have for each can be demanding but such love becomes a source of joy that that the Lord can only give.