I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
There are many kinds, degrees, and shades of love: the love of protective parents for their children, the love of husbands and wives, friendship, love of a pet, love of country, love of fellow soldiers as in “band of brothers,” love of teammates, love of nature, love of our fellow men, and love of God. Other variations could include all manner of human interests or endeavors, love of principles, beliefs, and values; love of one’s life work, love of art or music, love of history, love of any number of things for their intrinsic worth. However, the love relationship between God and His people is the highest, purest type. It’s unconditional and flows from His grace. It is the love which “passes all understanding”. It is the pinnacle of caregiving.
We are eternally safe in the arms of our Lord. There is nothing that He would not do for us; hence, He gave His only son’s life to purchase our freedom from sin. No form of human love, no matter how deep or strong, is as perfect as God’s love. His ultimate commandment for us to love one another transcends the norms of human love because it is based on altruistic motives. Christ commands us to love all our brothers and sisters, accept and respect each one, support their spiritual growth and bodily needs, bolster them in times of despair or loss or pain, tend their illnesses or facilitate their disabilities, educate or guide them. Most importantly, this commandment goes beyond affection for those close to us or those with similar characteristics.
We are charged with living harmoniously with all God’s children regardless of differences, recognizing that each of us has a function in the human family. This commandment is a call to treat each other fairly, kindly, with forgiveness and understanding. John reiterates in his gospel, “He who loves fulfills the law.” It is our sacred responsibility and most satisfying pursuit.
Prayer: Dear Lord, remind us to love one another as you love us. Give us the inclination to be true caregivers and models of Christ. Strengthen our relationship with You. Amen.