Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
So many times, we look around at our given situation, and ask: Where is the love in all of this? Sometimes, it is a result of our feeling unloved. At other times, it is the result of our feeling unloving toward the situation, and the players involved.
Yet, here, in the Gospel of John, we are called by our Lord to LOVE! Not just those we want to, but to LOVE one another. And to go even a step further, we are called to LOVE as Jesus loved! To love those no one else is going to love!
Many years ago, I was standing in the queue at Heathrow International Airport for a flight to the US. There was a woman a few persons in front of me who had terrible psoriasis. Her arms and legs were exposed, as she wore a short sleeved blouse and skirt. Her hair was somewhat disheveled, and she could have used a shower.
People were attempting to avoid her and keeping their distance, afraid of somehow coming into contact with her. Most of those around her were business men and women in their pin-striped suits.
This poor woman had several large suit cases and bags that she shuffled toward the ticket counter as the line moved slowly forward. At last, she was next in line. When the ticket agent said next, she attempted to push all her belongings to the far agent who beckoned her.
And then it happened. A big burly man from the back of the queue stepped forward, wearing his rumpled suit, unshaven, and smoking a big, smelly cigar. He reached down to the bags and said, “Let me help you, Ma’am” , and then immediately took her bags to the agent’s window.
The most unlikely person demonstrated the qualities of Christ, demonstrating compassion and love by helping one no one else wanted to be involved with.
So how does Christ love? Jesus goes beyond the boundaries of what is expected. And he is loving to those whom others do not expect us to love.
I want so much to be like Jesus. Don’t you? As Saints on Safari, we are called to love as Jesus loves.
Lord, help me to see those who are lovable only to you, and then to love them as you love them. Amen.