Reading: John 14. 15-21
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (NRSV)
Reflection: If you really love me,
The gospel reading this week is part of Jesus’ farewell address, which was made just after the Last Supper with his disciples and washing their feet. Final moment is always difficult, but, here, we see Jesus promise them the Holy Spirit who will be with them always, not leaving them as orphans. And then, he asks them to obey his commands as they love him. There are many commandments we need to remember and keep. But, for our sake, Jesus summed them up in one, that is, ‘Love one another’. It’s simple. However, we all know that it’s not that simple. Trouble is we love only those whom we want to love. We do love only those who we think deserve to be loved.
But, we must know that what is meant by this commandment is actually not about our natural liking or fondness, but more about something we have to learn, in loving the ones we don’t like or even hate. But, we know it’s not easy. Often we are told, “Hate the sin, but not the sinner!” But, how can we hate what a man did and not hate the man? It seems impossible! Who on earth can do that? However, on this matter, C. S. Lewis gives us a striking confession, saying ‘There was one person to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself’. And, I am pretty sure that we all have done this to ourselves. We do hate what we’ve done wrong, but never stop loving ourselves. This is an important point, because, up to that level, Jesus asks us to love one another and love our neighbours, whoever they are, including even enemies. But, how can we do that, in this self-centred, me-first society? To be honest, we find it difficult. We don’t know where to start. However, in this dilemma, we see hope, the hope from Jesus. We see him saying ‘I will ask the Father to send you another Helper’. And, he will be with you all the time. He will guide you and give you advice and defend you. What it means is that the Holy Spirit will guide you and empower you to love even your enemies, if you are in him.
We see so many times, in the gospel, Jesus, filled with compassion, touch the sick and heal them, and make them whole, with the power of the Spirit. So, when we are willing to move and act with compassion and in love, I believe the same Spirit will come and move and act with us. And, that is his promise, which is affirming and assuring.
And, what’s more is that if you live the life like this, with full of compassion and love, you will be in full relationship with the Father, as Jesus said ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and you are in me’.
It is such a lovely, and such a promising picture we can ever imagine. And, what is guaranteed in this relationship is that we are to be loved by the Father and the Christ. It is such a privilege to be loved by the Father as His children. Amen.
Let us pray.
Spirit of truth, come close to us and unite us into the body of Christ, as we love you and keep your words in our lives. In your love, help us to support and encourage each other, so that we may know and feel your presence in us, even when we have to face the unprecedented time of turmoil. Amen.