Jesus’ instruction in today’s Gospel reading is “to love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus lived with His disciples for three years and modeled this love prior to issuing this command. They had witnessed firsthand the kind of love He spoke of: a love which welcomed all people (especially sinners) to the table, a love infused with justice and mercy, a love that was consistent even in the face of rejection.
How does this play out in my life? Am I willing to invite the family member to a gathering even though he/she has spoken unkindly and falsely about me? Am I willing to give others the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming the worst? Am I willing to continue to reach out in love and kindness even when my efforts are ignored or rejected?
There is nothing easy about this kind of love. God’s grace alone gives me the necessary strength and courage to love others as Jesus has first loved me.