[__01__] In the Gospel this Sunday, our Lord and Savior is speaking – continuing a conversation – with the apostles at the Last Supper.
In this section of the Gospel about the Last Supper, Jesus equates – makes a connection between – compliance and love … between observance of the commandments and love.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Is there, however, always a connection between – compliance and love … between observance of the commandments and love?
In our own lives, we may not necessarily connect the two …
[__02__] For example, I may keep the commands or follow the rules for reasons other than love … a reason other than deep respect.
Consider that we may have a supervisor, a teacher, a principal … a person from whom we receive rules/commands to follow.
We may follow the rules, even though we lack intimacy, or do not feel close to the person.
On the one hand, we outwardly follow the rules … just so that we can be seen – observed doing so.
In this sense, we are not really following these commands – freely and by our own desire – we are just doing so … to avoid a penalty or to gain some immediate reward.
Then, there is another alternative.
[__03__] That is, we care for someone, we feel affection and love for someone… but we do not really follow his or her wishes or commands.
Is this, sometimes, true in our relationships with our closest family members, parents, spouses?
We may, for example, avoid doing what the other person wants… we avoid making compromises to please the other person.
We try to get our way rather than to give way…
On the road of life, we are not yielding to traffic … and we may also be exceeding the speed limit.
In this regard, we are “outwardly” – or externally saying I Love You … but we are not really backing up this love by our willingness to serve or follow the commands of another person.
[__04__] It is difficult to LOVE and to FOLLOW COMMANDS.
We might prefer to have one without the other.
Can we do both?
[__05__] In this relationship with us, the Lord asks not only about our outward observance but also about our intentions, the intentions of our hearts.
[__06__] Consider the parable of the 2 sons, both of whom are sent to work in their father’s vineyard.
The first son says “outwardly” … I love you, but never goes to the vineyard to start working.
The second son says outwardly … “I’m not going” … but changes his mind, changes his intention and starts working ... he is discovering a loving intention.
“Donde no hay amor, pon amor y
sacarás amor.” Or in English…
Where there is no love, put love and you will draw out love.
In order to follow the commandments, we not only pray for the wisdom to know what to do.. but also the strength to carry out the commandments… and to put love… even when we do not feel love.
[__07__] Isn’t this the challenge for husbands and wives in their service to each other…
For mothers and fathers in service to their children…. For children in service to their parents… for all of us…
We are called to follow the commandments for each other… not for a legal obligation, but for a loving commitment.
Jesus is encouraging us to see all of our responsibilities, commitments, all of the commandments as opportunities to express our love.
Doing so, we are growing closer, more intimate with each other …and with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by whom these commands are not written on paper, on stone, but in our hearts.