The vine and the branches

Published May 9, 2021, 12:31 AM

by Manila Bulletin


 Jn 15:9-17

 Jesus said to his disciples: 9“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love 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 no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”

Participating in the greatest love of all

 God is love (1 Jn 4:8). This is the most basic and yet the profoundest and most powerful reality that is asserted in today’s Second Reading. If we are truly begotten by God, we would love. If we say we know God, we would know how to love. But before we could ever learn how to truly love others, we first need to ground ourselves on the fact that God loved us first. Our present time and societies are characterized by the rise of the culture of violence, proliferation of falsehood, and destruction of our mother planet which is our common home. If we are to sum up the things that characterize our present situation with regard to the abovementioned realities, it would be a summary of the opposite of what love is. Violence, falsehood, and uncaring attitude towards the environment are all resulting from the failure to recognize the love with which God has loved us. Only in recognizing this love are we able to take up the challenge of loving others.

In the Gospel, Jesus exhorts his disciples to remain in his love. But before he gives his exhortation, he explicitly reveals the love he has for his disciples. He loves his disciples as the Father loves him. The love which the Father has for Jesus is the greatest love of all. And it is with this very love that the disciples should love another.

Nowadays, many hunger and thirst for love. Love is often associated with feelings generated by pleasure that is fleeting. And this feeling of pleasure is at times confused with joy. But true joy can never be fleeting because it is borne out of a commitment—a commitment to give oneself. When was the last time have we truly given ourselves to others, giving us the profoundest feeling of joy from within? This is the kind of joy that comes from Jesus, the joy that can give us the sense of completeness. And when there is a sense of completeness in us, we would no longer be wanting but giving. Only the person who has a sense of completeness finds joy in his/her heart. And the one who has already found this joy is the one who has the capacity to share it with others.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: