Today’s Scripture passages declare the profound truth that those who believe in Christ are to obey His commandment of love – “Love one another as I have

loved you.”

In the first reading, Peter teaches us that God shows no partiality in His love and that there are no boundaries to abiding in love. God loves everyone, both the Jews and the Gentiles, and He wants everyone to be saved through His Son, Jesus. That is why God welcomed the Roman centurion Cornelius as the first non-Jew to become a Christian.

The reading tells us how God also allowed the Gentiles who heard Peter’s speech to receive the same Holy Spirit and the same gifts that Peter’s Jewish audience had received on the day of Pentecost.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 98), also, directs our attention toward God’s marvelous love and kindness in offering salvation to the whole world.

In the second reading, John defines God as love and explains that He expressed His love for mankind by sending His Son to die for us humans “as expiation for our sins.” This Divine love gives us the command, and so the duty, to love one another as we have been loved by God. Since God has loved us first, we can and should love God in return, love ourselves properly, and love one another.

After telling the parable of the vine and branches, Jesus, in today’s Gospel, teaches the disciples that they are to obey His commandment of love just as Jesus has obeyed His Heavenly Father’s will by fulfilling His commandments and remaining inseparably bonded with His Father. Jesus’ unconditional, forgiving, selfless, sacrificial love for us must be the criterion of our love for others. The highest expression of this love is our willingness to lay down our lives as Jesus did, for people who don’t deserve it.

The goal and result of our abiding in love, in God, will be perfect joy. Jesus no longer calls us slaves but now calls us “friends.” He tells us that He has chosen us, and that, if we use Jesus’ name, we can ask the Father for anything.

Life messages:

  • We need to cultivate an abiding and loving friendship with Jesus. We need to express this love in our relationships with others by loving them and offering them trust, faithfulness, equality, forgiveness, joy, and sacrifice.
  • We need to be persons for others. Jesus demonstrated the love of God, His Father, for us by living for us and dying for us. Hence, as Jesus’ disciples, we are to be persons for others, sacrificing our time, talents and lives for

This is what parents spontaneously do – sacrificing themselves, their time, talents, health and wealth for their children. In other words, by spending themselves for their children.

The most effective way of communicating God’s love to others is by treating everyone as a friend and giving everyone the respect he or she deserves. Let us remember that Christ’s own love was not limited to the people He liked and, hence, we should close our minds to thoughts of revenge.

~ Fr. Sebastian

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