“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Those words may be among the most familiar, most comforting, in all of scripture. This is a hard fact. What Jesus commands here is not only that we love one another, but also that we love one another as he loves us. Let that sink in. And then think of the implications. He is asking us to love radically. Totally. Unconditionally. He is asking us — no, commanding us — to love one another as he loved his apostles. To love Thomas, the doubter. To love Peter, the denier. To love, even, the betrayer, Judas. He is telling us to love with fierceness and tenderness and a compassion that can even lead, if we love enough, to the cross.
Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, have to admit that we continually fall short of loving people like that. And so this gospel is placed before us not to make us comfortable, but to make us uncomfortable. It is a challenge to our faith. It is a challenge to the way we love others. If we truly say who we are - Christians, then we will take the challenge to heart - not when we feel like it, not when we are in the good mood but every single day.
We pray for courage that we may live up to the Gospel value of loving others with and in the love of Jesus.