5th week in Easter Time, Friday – 15th May 2020 — Gospel: Jn 15, 12-17
Love is a commitment, not a feeling
The reference to the ‘commandments’ (15,10) found in pluralistic form have been reduced to a single commandment here: the disciples are to love one another, just as Jesus has loved them (15,12). This is the new commandment of 13,34 and it is repeated again in 15,17. As master and teacher Jesus knew that repetition is the key to learning, especially learning something that isn’t easy. He wanted them to remember this one thing, because love is not optional for those who follow Jesus (1 Cor 13), but the only means. The disciples love for one another is compared to Jesus’ love for them. But we do know that Jesus’ love surpasses that of any human love. How did Jesus show his love for the disciples? This is illustrated in the washing of the disciples’ feet (13,1-20), which is introduced by the statement that Jesus loved them ‘to the end’ (13,1). Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, on behalf of his disciples, becomes the supreme standard of loving till the end. Jesus introduced the theme of his sacrificial death earlier in 10,18 and 14,31 as a command received from his Father. Because love is primarily a commitment and not a feeling, it can be commanded. Paul emphasized Jesus’ love saying that Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice for our sins on the cross (Gal 2,20; Eph 5,2). Through faith and love in Jesus Christ all people will attain their highest good, i.e., being forgiven of their sins and receiving eternal life. Aiming for this highest good through Jesus should become the goal of the disciples in all our relationships.