Happy Mothers Day!

Love and Obedience

What is love? Love is one of those things which mean different things to different people. In John 15:9-17, Jesus talks about love. We can call it Jesus’ discourse on love, and there are certain things which Jesus said that we can learn from.

Jesus said to His disciples, “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. (John 15:9-10)” Some people are puzzled by these words. Isn’t love supposed to be free and unconditional? So, how can Jesus tell His disciples that they have to keep His commandments in order to remain in His love?

In this Gospel passage, Jesus was teaching His disciples, and us, about love and obedience; He taught us by His own example; He willingly died on the Cross out of obedience and love for His Father. We, too, can love and obey others at the same time. For example, when children obey their parents out of love, then that act of obedience is also an act of love. When grown sons and daughters carry out their parents’ wishes out of love, then that is also an act of love. In the same way, when we obey what Jesus commanded us to do out of love for Him, then that act of obedience is also an act of love.

Jesus said to His disciples, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)” Here, Jesus was telling His disciples how much He loved them – He loved them so much that He was going to die for them. Jesus added: “You are 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. (John 15:14-15)” Jesus often quoted from the Old Testament, and many things He said were connected to the Old Testament in one way or another. This is no exception.

In the Old Testament, Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5), Joshua (Joshua 24:29), and David (Psalm 89:21) were called servants of the Lord; but only Abraham (Isaiah 41:8; 2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23) was called a friend of the Lord. Abraham was a man who would have sacrificed his only son rather than disobey God, and Abraham was called a friend of God because “Abraham put his faith in the LORD, who attributed it to him as an act of righteousness. (Genesis 15:6; cf. James 2:23; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6)” Similarly, Jesus calls His disciples His friends, if they believe in Him and obey His commandments.

Another point that can be made here is that Jesus revealed His divinity to His disciples by telling them that the way to love Him is the same way that they love God – through faith and obedience.

Jesus’ commandment is this: “Love one another. (John 15:17)” How should we love one another? If true love means the total self-giving of oneself to another, then an act of true love is never selfish; it is never for one’s own gain. Perhaps it makes more sense now why Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another – so that we can learn to love as He loves – which is to love in a self-giving way. A master commands his slave not for the benefit of the slave, but for his own benefit. In contrast, Jesus gave us the commandment of love not for His own good, but for our good. If we can learn how to love Jesus with obedience, then we are by no means His slaves but His friends.

In preparation for Pentecost Sunday, the faithful are enjoined to pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit. Beginning on May 14, the Novena prayers should be said each day for 9 consecutive days ending on May 22. You may pick up a copy of the Novena on the table, or you may go to our church website and find it under FAITH – PRAYERS – Novena to the Holy Spirit.

When coming up to receive Holy Communion, please pull down your face mask and put both hands together to receive the Holy Eucharist. Then, step to the side and eat the Body of Christ reverently, and return to your seat.