Jesus gives us a new commandment in today’s Gospel passage. We’ve heard this many times, but have we taken it to heart? My bible’s footnotes indicated that Jesus was asking His disciples to love others with His own heart- the heart of Christ. He made it clear that this is the kind of love that will attract others to the Gospel and to conversion.
While Jesus asks us to love as He loves, it doesn’t seem to happen often. Unfortunately, this is a tough commandment to follow. We know it’s easier to love those who think and act in a similar manner that we do. Though we still struggle with loving these folks because petty differences get in the way. We make too much of small issues and find fault with them, and then struggle to love them. But we find it almost impossible to love those who have very different views than us. For example, do you love those who support abortion? I know I struggle with this. However, God made each one of us, and Jesus asks us to love them. Perhaps that bible footnote is most relevant here; this kind of love (loving like Jesus) will attract others to the Gospel and conversion.
So when we look at how we love others, how we struggle with this, let’s think about what Jesus wants. Perhaps God knows that we struggle with this type of love, but He wants us to try our best at loving in the manner Jesus showed. God doesn’t ask perfection from us, only that we try hard, and when we fail to seek forgiveness and start over again.
So let’s pause and reflect on this new commandment. Let’s ask God to help us to love as He loves. And then let’s try once again.