True Christian Love

“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” Jesus’ passion and death are His glorification, not only because this is the only way leading to the splendor of the resurrection, but also because it was through His suffering that Jesus was constituted as the source of salvation for all. The whole of humanity is and will be indebted to Him for this salvation and gift of life bestowed on all mankind. This is how the Son of Man has been glorified through Judas’ departure: His fate has been sealed.

At the same moment, “now,” God the Father is also glorified. The glory of the Father consists in the fact that Jesus, the Son, through His loving obedience in His passion and death, does the will of the Father and expresses the great love God had for the world. Thus the Father was glorified when Judas set in motion the emotional and legal machinery that would put Jesus to death. The Father is glorified “in him,” in the Son of Man, because it is in Jesus’ surrender to His will that the Father’s saving plan succeeds.

The commandment of love among the disciples of the Lord follows Jesus’ words referring to His death and resurrection. Christ tells His apostles that He will be with them “only a little while longer.” Until the moment He returns, the Church, the new community of Christ’s followers, should be held together by mutual love.

Under pressure from the world around them, each Christian should try to help his neighbor with the same interest, care and love that Christ did. The supreme evidence of true love is, of course, dying for the other if necessary. It is to that extent that Christ Jesus loved His own, and He wants His own disciples to love others to the same extent.

In His infinite love, Christ has proven Himself to be the founder of a new “school” in which He teaches the supremacy of love as He understood and practiced it. If we are to be true followers of such a Master, then we must show how this basic tenet of Christ’s school applies in our lives. The identifying mark of a Christian for all to see is mutual love, that love that goes as far as demanding self-denial and sacrifice, even of one’s own life.

True Christian love is not the conventional smile of a friendly face; it is much more than that. It is a tremendous power, one that can indeed change the face of the world — as long as we offer it and practice it without keeping anything for ourselves, not even our own lives.

Each of us is called to glorify God every day, as the Lord Himself did, by putting into effect the farewell words of Christ: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

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