Love One Another

One of the most beautiful passages of the Gos- pel of John is the statement of what Christian life is or should be. The word “Love” is every- where and always on our lips, but this love is not necessarily the love that Jesus is talking about.

When the Sacred Scripture speaks about love, it does not always have the same connotations. In our normal use, the term “love” has different meanings. In the original Greek in the New testament, there are 3 different words that also mean different kinds of Love. This helps to avoid all confusion that we may have when Jesus speaks about love.

The Love (Agape) that Jesus talks about in the gospel today is unselfish love, loving the other for the other’s sake without anything in it for oneself. This love is more than the love we call friendship. The reason and the nature of this love for our brothers and sisters is no other than the love God has for us. This love is not about us but about the other, simple like that.

If we pause and meditate about God’s loves for us, there is nothing that God can gain from loving us. For that reason, His love is totally un- selfish. Also, His love is not selective. He doesn’t love us because we are good. His love makes us good if we are conscious of the gift we have received. His love transforms us. This is some- thing similar to the moment when we realize how much our parents love us. Their love changes us and makes us better sons and daughters.

Sometimes we struggle to understand love as a “commandment” because we tend to under- stand love as a feeling and feelings cannot be commanded. Feelings just happen. We are called to love one another, the words of Jesus are very clear. How then can God call us to love? It is because we are made in the image and likeness of God. It is not a feeling, even though feelings may accompany love. Love is the rational desire to want only the good for the other. It is a rational desire to want only the good for the other person. This aspiration for the well-being of others can sometimes be accompanied by feelings (positive or negative), they are not necessary. That is why we are being called to love everyone, even those we do not like, but we are not called to like everyone. For love is something that comes from within us, while “to like” comes from outside.

To love one another is something that can be extremely difficult. We try, we fail, but we continue trying with all our hearts to love one an- other because that is the Christian way.

One more thing you might find is that to love some people is easier than to love others. That is because they are great people. They make you feel special and they pay attention to your concerns and struggles. They make the commandment to love one another not only easier, but pleasant to us. I would like to propose to all of you who are reading this; please make it easier for other people to love you. Remove any obstacles that will make it difficult for others to follow the commandment to love you. (Here are some tips: be kind, smile, pay attention when others are talking to you, do not criticize others, be patient with their weaknesses, pray for them, pray with them…). Imagine for a moment if we all did that…Loving one another would be a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Fr. Sergio