To Love Jesus...

    To say "I love you!" is easy, but to really mean it is "hard as hell." Part of the reason it's hard is that when we love, we don't do what we feel like doing, instead we do the wishes of our beloved. It's the same in our relationship with God. Today Jesus is telling us that if we love him, we should keep his commandments. We cannot truly love and remain in his love unless we are filled with the Spirit of love, which God promises to those who believe.

    Many of us keep God's commandments out of obligation and fear. Some might attend Holy Mass on Sundays just because it is obligatory; they might think, "If I don't, God won't be good to me." They also perhaps try to keep God's commandments with the intention of expecting some benefit or reward. For example, the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son is loyal to his father, not because of love and respect for his father, but because he expects something in return. He does not do it out of love, and that is why he complained to his father (Lk 15:11-32). Jesus condemns the Pharisees who give prominence to this kind of attitude (Mt 23). Today's gospel exhorts us to follow God's commandments out of love: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Is it possible to keep God's commandments with love?

    Yes, it is possible. To keep the commandments, one must first love Jesus, have faith in God and be obedient to him. Without faith and obedience, we cannot love Jesus and keep his commandments. Faith and obedience are bound in the same bundle. One who obeys God believes him and one who believes God also obeys him. True love for God is expressed in obedience, and obedience is expressed in love.

    Jesus calls us to walk in his way of love through obedience to the will of the Father. Anything that we do with love will be light and easy. A boy was carrying a bigger boy on his shoulders. When someone asked him, "Isn't he too heavy a burden for you?" The boy replied, "He's not heavy; he's my brother." What he did was out of love for his brother, so it was not difficult for him.

    Let us pray for grace to love God's commandments so that we will receive his Spirit, and that Spirit will lead us through all our troubles. (From Pulpit to Pews, Cycle A, Page # 48 & 49)

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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