GOSPEL READING: John 15:9-11
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Meditation: Do you know the love that no earthly power nor death itself can destroy? The love of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ is a creative, life-giving love that produces immeasurable joy and lasting friendship for all who accept it. God loves the world so much because he created it to reflect his glory. And he created each one of us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). He wants us to be united with himself in an inseparable bond of unity, peace, and joy that endures for all eternity. That is why the Father sent his Son, the Lord Jesus, into the world, not to condemn it, but to redeem it from the curse of sin and death (John 3:16-17). Paul the Apostle tells us that we can abound in joy and hope because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).
Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God offers pardon for all of our sins and failings, and he calls us to lay aside everything that might hold us back from loving him above all else. We owe him a debt of gratitude and love in return. We can never outmatch God because he has loved us first and has given himself to us without measure. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding mercy and kindness towards us. In God’s love alone can we find the fulness of abundant life, peace, and joy.
A new commandment of love
The Lord Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment – a new way of love that goes beyond giving only what is required or what we think others might deserve. What is the essence of Jesus’ new commandment of love? It is love to the death – a purifying love that overcomes selfishness, fear, and pride. It is a total giving of oneself for the sake of others – a selfless and self-giving love that is oriented towards putting the welfare of others ahead of myself.
There is no greater proof in love than the sacrifice of one’s life for the sake of another. Jesus proved his love by giving his life for us on the cross of Calvary. Through the shedding of his blood for our sake, our sins are not only washed clean, but new life is poured out for us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We prove our love for God and for one another when we embrace the way of the cross. What is the cross in my life? When my will crosses with God’s will, then God’s will must be done. Do you know the peace and joy of a life fully surrendered to God and consumed with his love?
Lord Jesus, may I always grow in the joy and hope which your promises give me. Inflame my heart with love for you and your ways and with charity and compassion for my neighbor. May there be nothing in my life which keeps me from your love.
1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established, it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Joy in rejoicing over us, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
“And what else is Christ’s joy in us except that he is pleased to rejoice over us? And what is this joy of ours that he says is to be made full, but our having fellowship with him?… His joy, therefore, in us is the grace he has bestowed on us, and that is also our joy. But he rejoiced over this joy even from eternity when he chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Nor can we rightly say that his joy was not full. For God’s joy was never at any time imperfect. But that joy of his was not in us. For we, in whom that joy could exist, had as yet no existence. And even when our existence commenced, it began not to be in him. But in him it always was, who in the infallible truth of his own foreknowledge rejoiced that we should yet be his own. Accordingly, he had a joy over us that was already full when he rejoiced in foreknowing and foreordaining us. And there could hardly be any fear intermingling in that joy of his that might imply a possible failure in what he foreknew would be done by himself.” (excerpt from TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 83.1)