“If you love me you will keep my commandments.”
The Gospel is about the final testament before His passion, death and Resurrection. Jesus knew well that His disciples would be at a lost and needed lot of courage and strength to persevere in their life of commitment to Jesus, their master. He prepared them for a new era in which they would have to face new challenges and assume new tasks, without the constant support of his presence and his advice. Foreseeing their difficulty, Jesus consoles the disciples he was about to leave, promising to send them his Spirit. He would not, therefore, leave them abandoned. He would no longer be with them in body as he had been until now, but he would be available to them spiritually in a new and permanent way.
He speaks to them about the importance of their fidelity and commitment. That is why He says if you love me, you will keep my commandments. In other places He says that whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode within him (Jh.14, 23). One of the conditions Jesus specifically speaks is the unconditional love of God that we should have in our lives. How do we express our love of God and have that as the primacy of our lives. The book of Deuteronomy speaks about “the Lord our God is the only Lord! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk. 12, 29-30) There has to be convergence of all these four elements in order to love God totally and completely. Here it is very specifically points out the various dimensions that contribute to the fulfillment of this great commandment. There has to be a combination and integration of the heart and mind, because we love with our heart and not with the intellect. The intellect gives us the knowledge and this information when combined with the heart it comes to its fullness.
Loving Jesus therefore is not just something emotional; loving Jesus means changing our lives, reforming our lives, working on our personalities and characters, overcoming sinful habits, stretching ourselves to love as Jesus loved. This calls for a total transformation of our life in Christ and we need to possess the person of Christ totally and completely. No wonder St. Paul says writing to the Philippians “For me to live is Christ and die is a gain.” We need to be ruled and governed by the person of Christ and His Gospel, which are his own words, which are powerful and effective. Again the words of Jesus are, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) We cannot have both a pure love of Jesus and sin in our lives at the same time. As Jesus said in Matt 6:24, we cannot be the slaves of two masters. Truly loving Jesus leads us to give up whatever in our lives draws us away from Jesus. Truly loving Jesus leads us to making changes in the way we live and think and act. When we keep the commandments not only do we love Jesus but we also have the love of God in us. At the end of our Gospel excerpt today we heard; anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him. (John 14:21)
The Gospel gives us certain guidelines in order to comply with the commandment of Jesus.
Let your light shine before the people. If your deeds are good, do not hide them and let the others see and glorify your heavenly Father in Heaven.
Love your enemies; you have heard that love your friends and hate your enemy, but I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. So that you will become the children of your heavenly Father, who sees everything that is done will reward you.
Forgive everyone who sins against you. The Lord is merciful and kind and he expects us to forgive others in order that we may receive forgiveness form him. We cannot be recipients of mercy unless we ourselves are merciful and kind. The Lord says give and it will be given back to you in full measure, pressed down and flowing over will be poured into your lap.
Clean inside the cup and dish and the outside will take care of itself. It clearly refers to the cleanness of our own inner self. Psalm 50 would say a pure heat create for me O God, put a steadfast spirit within me, do not cast me away from your spirit nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit.
Love one another as I have loved you. If you do this, then I will know that you are my disciples. Look at the early Christians that their life was clearly an example of this great commandment. If we really loved him, we would make his will the norms of our existence until they are imprinted in our hearts. The proof that we love him in his absence is that we do his will. If the will of Jesus is the norm of our lives, we will not feel abandoned and left alone.
I have come to serve and not to be served. Jesus wanted his disciples to understand the greatness of this virtue that He himself washed the feet of his own disciples.
Repay evil with good, in this way you will be called the children of your Heavenly Father; for he brings down snow and rain on the good as well as the bad. Nothing is achieved by retaliation except to pile darkness upon darkness. Do not judge and you will not be judged; Do to others what you want them to do to you. God is the righteous judge and He knows the intentions of our heart well compared to anyone in the world.
Do not store up treasures for yourself here on earth- money, property, goods and so on. These are like chaff in the eyes of God and will be blown away by the first wind of judgment. Do not worry about food, drink and clothes as if they were the most important things in life. Your first concern is to live a life worthy of a child of God and all the rest will fall into place. Let our life be permeated and predominated by the love of God and expressed in loving and caring for our brothers and sisters