A Love That Begins With The Father.

This Sunday’s passage from John occurs near the end of Jesus’ life. Jesus’ lengthy discourse actually begins back in chapter 14 and runs all the way through chapter 16. When used of relationships, as it is here, it suggests we live within a deep, steadfast relationship using our heart and soul in unity with God. In order to remain in Jesus’ love, then, it requires a deep faith and commitment of being immersed in Jesus’ love, surrounded by Jesus’ love, comforted by Jesus’ love, and empowered by Jesus’ love!

You will note that the emphasis is on love. Love begins with the Father, flowing through the Son to the disciples, wrapped by the Holy Spirit and runs down through us here today some 2,000+ years later! Yes, it is contingent on obedience and keeping God’s commandments, but it must be wrapped in the very love of God!  Jesus provides us with a model of obedience wrapped in love. Jesus has come to do the will of the one who sent Him and He keeps the Father’s word as He does the Father’s will so that the world might know that HE loves the Father. Jesus’ promises to love the disciples if they obey his commandments.

For me, the image that comes to mind is that of nested dolls! You know, the kind that pull apart to reveal a smaller doll inside, and inside of that doll there is a still smaller doll, etc. Jesus invites us to obey so that WE might abide in Him as He abides in the Father. This series of relationships is made complete as we keep Jesus’ commandments but always in love first!

I find it interesting that we do not do well with rules all the time and we often push back. But here we find that Jesus says, “I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be made full”! In other words, Jesus is not calling us to dreary, lock-step obedience, but rather to a joy that only comes with love in Christ. It is the joy of the disciplined life, like the joy of the athlete who rejoices after conquering a difficult challenge to win the race. Our true victory, and our true life as Christians, is always found in love.

Monsignor +Jim

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