Reflection by Sister Ana Cloughly, OSB
Gospel – John 15.9-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love 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 no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Today’s readings get to the heart of the matter. Love.
Where does love come from? How is it received by the beloved?
Some would say love is merely an evolutionary process of hormones and chemicals produced by the human body to insure propagation of the human species and to reinforce social bonds for protection.
I’m relatively sure most of us don’t think of love in this way.
The Hebrew Scriptures tell marvelous stories about God’s selection and support of a group of humans to be God’s own. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, time and again assures Israel of God’s special love for them.
They are the chosen people and they have a job. They are to be a light to the nations.
Why is it so hard to know God’s love?
Why don’t I let God love me? This is, I think my greatest sin. I know intellectually God is love. But, just to be with God, asking nothing, saying nothing, just being with God is one of the most difficult things to do.
As I read today’s scriptures, I am amazed. In a time of incredible unrest, The gospel writers speak of love. Especially in the Gospel of John, God’s Love takes on new meaning. When a warlike manifestos would be understandable, John tells about Jesus giving his disciples metaphors to describe God’s love and instructing them to love as he has loved. He reassures them that he himself is God’s love poured out for them.
God is love and all human love comes from God. “You seek to know God”, says John, “Well and good; but do not get misled by all your discussions on the knowledge of God.”
Story of Peter in Acts today.
Peter and Cornelius… moves beyond tradition led by the Spirit. Moves beyond hate, beyond indifference and into an unknown place.
It comes down to this: attune yourselves to God. Since God is love, everything in you that is love comes from God; and whenever you love, you are in harmony with God.
Challenge for today.
Immigration, migrants, refugees. It’s not just the southern border of the United States. All over the world people are migrating away from civil unrest, food insecurity and the effects of climate change. Am I/are we open to the Holy Spirit and go beyond fear and hatred?
Eternal life is to know God; and so that we may truly know God as God is. This means that if we know how to open our eyes we can contemplate God every day in a thousand ways.