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17 June, 20

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If you do not feel love for others, can you bring it out?

We are looking for a moment to accompany Jesus in his words during the Last Supper. Now he takes a more emotional tone: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (Jn 15:12). This is the message he never wants them to forget. St. John would repeat it tirelessly, even when he was an old man and they took him to tell his memories, he would only say: "Little children, love one another". This is what it all boils down to.

Educating love

But can love be commanded? Especially if that love is not felt for its own sake. Or is love not a sentiment Is there a spontaneous love that we have or that we do not have, and that springs up of its own accord, often without provoking it and sometimes without our being able to avoid it at all? And this being the case, does a commandment of love make sense, as if it could be forced to love?

In a way, it is possible to educate the love. Human experience itself shows that love does not come to fullness suddenly, but matures. For this reason, it is always possible to learn to love better (God, friends, a woman): it is the task of intelligence, intelligence, intelligence, and intelligence. willand the good management of our feelings.

Forcing to love

But can I be commanded to love someone who dislikes me, or has made fun of me, or competes with me, or is my rival, or has harmed or hurt me? We Christians live in the middle of the street and have to face the same problems and challenges as everyone else, and also endure the bad times and sufferings that are a consequence of the evil in the world (which is a consequence of original sin and personal sins).

Love of neighbor 1

"It would be illusory to claim to love one's neighbor without loving God and it would also be illusory to claim to love God without loving one's neighbor. The two dimensions (...) characterize the disciple of Christ" and "are inseparable. In fact, they support each other". Pope Francis Rome 2018

As I have loved you

If we stick only to our own criteria, it is more difficult, since everyone has their own way of being and behaving, their own tastes, even their own habits, and there will always be things that we see differently or that we like in a different way. On the other hand, if the friendship with God is for us something more and more important and decisive, then we will begin to love those whom God loves and who are in need of us. God wants us to be friends with his friends and we can be friends with them if we are inwardly close to them.

Jesus commands it because he can do it, and not because of his divine authority, but because he himself has personally fulfilled what he commands before:

  • he became man for love of us, he is born poor among the poor,
  • talks to everyone (to his friends, but also to those who criticize him,...),
  • He welcomes all kinds of people (publicans, prostitutes, people with disgusting and contagious diseases such as lepers, he talks to Roman centurions - an invading army - and treats them well, ...),
  • forgives sinners (adulterous woman, Samaritan woman,...),
  • and goes to the extreme of giving his life for everyone in the cross.

He had previously called this commandment new (Jn 13:34). The novelty is not in commanding love, which was already in the Old Testament, but in the way and the level: as I have loved you. So it is not impossible, since it is only a matter of returning love for love, even if it is sometimes difficult.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (...) 15 I no longer call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Jn 15:13,15).

Love like Jesus

The best way to learn to love is to know JesusWe must be his friend, accompany him in his daily life, open the pages of the Gospel and live him as one of the characters.

Herein lies the raison d'être of our life: God has created us so that we may be happy here on earth - with pains, which are never lacking - and definitively and fully in heaven. He gives us his example and helps us with grace, which we receive in the sacraments. But he counts on us to collaborate with him to reach more people: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you (Jn 15:16).

Jesus, may I not be selfishly closed in on my own, on what I feel like, on thinking about what others think of me,... may I be like you, always attentive to lift my spirits with a word of faith and hope to the one next to me, so that his heart may also be set on fire and enjoy love.

To the Most Holy VirginMother of Fair Love, we ask you to enlarge our hearts so that we may learn to love, fulfill this commandment of your Son, and fill the world with joy.

Mr. Francisco Varo Pineda
Research Director
University of Navarra
Faculty of Theology
Professor of Sacred Scripture

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