God is love (1 Jn 4, 8)
Jesus Christ is the final word and the definitive work of love on God’s part. To return God’s love, it is enough for the disciples to follow their Master’s example.
We are exhorted to love. And God is the motive presented to us: he is love and the source of love.
God is revealed as the one who, better and more than anybody else, wills the good of another. He loves us so much he gives his only Son so that we may have eternal life.
And the Son, the incarnation of the love of the invisible God, loves us so effectively and in an unsurpassable way that he gives his life for us sinners. He wants us sinners to become his intimate friends.
Jesus no longer calls us servants, for he reveals to us and shares with us God’s love. He invites us to remain in his love, to love as he has loved us and according to the love the Father has for him. He chooses us so that, no longer choked by our selfish interests, we may bear lasting fruit of good works.
Our love as disciples can only come from God and has to approximate the eminently effective love of the Master who has loved us to the utmost, sweating blood on his forehead and all over his body, and stretching his arms on the cross. We who are not bloodied up must love at least “with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brow, as St. Vincent de Paul urges us (FrXI:40).
Another way of saying this is the one we find in Misericordiae vultus 9: “Love … can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shown in daily living.” And this is quite consistent with Gaudium et Spes 38: Jesus “cautions … that this charity is not something to be reserved for important matters, but must be pursued chiefly in the ordinary circumstances of life.”
Through their daily life of patience and kindness, of not being jealous, pompous, inflated, rude, selfish or quick-tempered, of not brooding over injury or rejoicing over wrong doing, but rather of rejoicing in the truth, of bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things and enduring all things—through this do the disciples show that they are begotten by God and partake of his nature. They thus reveal also that they accept the Eucharistic invitation to love to the end, without showing partiality.
Lord, make us proclaim your resurrection with faith working through love.