1. Jesus said to his disciples:
“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…This is my commandment: love one another as I love you…You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves…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”(Jn15:9-17). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. Today’s gospel used the word ‘love’ several times. Through it Jesus presents the relationship between him and his Father as one based on love and obedience. He then projects this as the model of relationship that should exist between him and his followers. Remaining in the love of Jesus is the guarantee for being in communion with him. This communion creates a special friendship.
3. Friendship with Jesus is one that elevates a servant to a position of partner. This partnership makes Jesus to teach the friends all that he has learnt from his Father. But the continuity of this relationship is dependent upon one condition: ‘you are my friends if you do what I command you.’
4. Jesus further makes his followers to realize that being his friend is not totally a question of their choice. He was the one who chose them. He did this because he has a mission for them. They should not think of themselves as Lords. No, they are rather to be seen as missionaries who have to bear enduring fruit, preaching, teaching and living out what they teach. Doing this goes with a reward: being connected with God such that God hears the prayers of the disciples who prays in the name of Jesus. This explains why we always end our prayers ‘through Christ our Lord.’
5. The central point is agape, loving others as a sign of our love for God. Love means different thing for different persons. For this reason Jesus did not want to leave us in confusion. He gave us direction on how to practise the love that he proposes:’love one another as I have loved you.’ His own love is the type that makes one to lay down one’s life for the beloved.
6. You must have noticed how the situation in Nigeria has made this injunction a difficult one. Killings, kidnapping, insecurity, nepotism and tribalism have made our hearts to become embittered, making it difficult to love as Christ would want you to love. Most things in the country only discourage you from being loving. The dominant passion today is rather fear and not love. How can you still love those who want you dead? If you remain focused on circumstances of the present moment you will not think of loving but Jesus insists that it is only by loving that you can remain connected to him and his Father. It is this connection that will save the world. Your perseverance is therefore necessary to restore lost humanity to Nigeria. @Vita, 09/05/21