The Easter Season has given us a number of images of God and our relationship with him. On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Jesus spoke of himself as the Good Shepherd and identified us as the sheep of his flock. Last week he said that he is the Vine and we are the branches. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals the secret element that connects the Shepherd and his sheep, the Vine and the branches: Love. He gives us the commandment that we are to love one another as He has loved us.
At first, I struggled with this phrase. Loving others is a noble and beautiful ideal, but how can we command love? If we don’t love somebody, we can’t help it. For instant, when someone irritates us at work or in our family, loving that person seems unreasonable. When someone ignores or hurts us, loving that person can seem impossible.
However, I think love, as Jesus speaks of it here, is different. Love is not just a good emotional feeling or a sentimental affection to others. It is not something we do if we feel like it. It is rather a decision, a choice, a commitment and an act of the will to be good to others and to do good for others.
I think this kind of love is what Jesus is talking about. It is the kind of love that Jesus Himself exemplified for us. He commands us to do the same. Every day we are to give ourselves up for one another, by the way we choose, decide and commit ourselves to love others: in small ways, like acting and dealing with others kindly, politely and lovingly, and in large ways, like giving of ourselves to care for others. Loving others is our Christian obligation. Our love for God and for one another is not just a word, but an action and always demands sacrifice.
Today is also Mother’s Day. We remember and pay tribute to mothers who love, and who continuously show us the path of love. Mothers are living reminders of peace, unity, and love. We salute them, for not giving up, and for continuing to be agents of God’s love and peace to us.
Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers and a blessed week to all.