In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus continues the parable of the True Vine. Last week, we thought about Jesus' invitation to remain as branches of the True Vine so that together we can build the Kingdom of God. We heard Jesus say that this is the only way it will work. We cannot build the Kingdom of God unless we remain, unless we abide, unless our home is in him and his home is in us. In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus continues,
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
The invitation to abide, to remain, just got even better. Life in the True Vine is a life lived in love. And not just any love, but the same Love that God has for Jesus.
The same Love that loves Jesus into life inside of Mary.
The same Love that loves Jesus into eternal life after the cross.
The same Love that we see come down onto Jesus at his Baptism in the river Jordan.
We know who that same Love is, don't we? We receive that same Love at our Baptism.
We want to remain in this love--God for Jesus and Jesus for us. We want to live in the life of the True Vine. The question that comes to our mind, though is...how? How do we remain? How do we abide in his love?
Jesus answers our unspoken question:
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
A commandment is a call to live in a certain way. Jesus lives as God calls him to live, so Jesus has kept the Father's commandments. Jesus calls us to live in a certain way, too:
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Love as Jesus loves. How does Jesus love?
When Jesus is asked what is God's greatest commandment, he answers:
you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind,
and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
Then Jesus answers with another commandment, that has to follow from the first:
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:31)
Love God. Love your neighbour. This is what Jesus does with his whole life. With his whole life he loves God. With his whole life he loves his neighbours--in the bread, in the wine, on the cross. He says it over and over in the parable of the Good Shepherd:
I lay down my life
He makes his whole life a gift for God, for neighbour. Jesus lives as God calls him to live, and so, Jesus does the will of God.
Jesus asks us to love in this way. Jesus asks us to live in this way.
Can we do this? Can we make our whole life a gift for God? A gift for others?
We have help. We have that same Love of God for Jesus, of Jesus for us.