Gospel Reflection – “Love one another as I have loved you”

The true nature of love
There is no greater glory and honor that one can offer than the willing sacrifice of one’s life for the sake of another. This is the true nature of love – the total self-giving and free offering of one’s life for the good of another. A mother who loves her child will do everything in her power to nurture, protect, and save the life of the child. A soldier devoted to his country’s welfare, will endure any hardship and suffering and willingly sacrifice his own life to defend his people. God the Father showed the unfathomable depth of his love and mercy by willingly offering his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. To ransom a slave God gave his only Son. That slave is you and me and the whole human race which is bound in sin and death and separation from God

 Quote from the early church fathers: Christ’s love goes further than anything previous, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)

“He plainly indicates the novelty involved in his command here – and the extent to which the love he enjoins here surpasses the old idea of mutual love (Deuteronomy 6:5) – by adding the words ‘Even as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ … The law of Moses mandated the necessity of loving our brothers as ourselves, yet our Lord Jesus the Christ loved us far more than he loved himself. Otherwise, he would have never descended to our humiliation from his original exaltation in the form of God and on an equality with God the Father, nor would he have undergone for our sakes the exceptional bitterness of his death in the flesh, nor have submitted to beatings from the Jews, to shame, to derision, and all his other sufferings too numerous to mention. Being rich, he would never have become poor if he had not loved us far more than he loved himself. It was indeed something new for love to go as far as that! Christ commands us to love as he did, putting neither reputation, wealth or anything else before love of our brothers and sisters. If need be, we even need to be prepared to face death for our neighbor’s salvation as our Savior’s blessed disciples did, as well as those who followed in their footsteps. To them the salvation of others mattered more than their own lives, and they were ready to do anything or to suffer anything to save souls that were perishing.” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 9)

Text and reflections, courtesy and used with permission – http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org

WRITTEN BY: Harold Clitheroe