Commentary on John 15:12-17
Jesus, speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper, continues to talk about the centrality of love. He expresses it in a central commandment: perhaps surprisingly to some, this commandment is not to love God, or to love Jesus, but to love one another. God does not need to be mentioned because that love is only possible when God is acting in and through us. That is the touchstone of the genuineness of our love for God. And the measure of that love is that of Jesus for us. If that is not clear enough, he spells it out: the greatest possible love a person can have is to sacrifice one’s life for one’s friends. That may mean dying for others but it can also mean living for others; in either case our primary concern is concern for the need of the brother or sister. And it is the only path to demonstrate that we love God and that God’s love is in us. Jesus shows that love by his own death for his friends. And who are his friends? They are those who do what he commands and what he commands is that we love each other to the same degree that he loves us. Earlier Jesus told his disciples, after washing their feet, that he was their Lord and Master, but now he also calls them his friends and not servants. Jesus is our Lord but he is also our Brother and our Friend. Because of that he has shared with us all he has received from his Father. Obviously, it is for us to share all we know about Jesus with others too. Finally, he reminds them that they are his followers, because he has chosen them; they have not chosen him. We do not confer any favour on Jesus by following him. We are only answering a call that has already come from him. And the response to that call is to “bear fruit”, lasting fruit. Our lives must be productive, productive in love, in caring, in justice, in compassion, in building up the world of the Kingdom. And we need have no fear. God is with us and everything we need will be given to us to become fruitful. And once again he repeats the core commandment: Love one another. How much of all this is descriptive of my life?