A New Commandment


Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in Him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.    1 John 2: 7-11   (NAB)    

Oh no, Tim!! Not this loving your neighbor stuff again, please!!! How many different ways can you say it!?! We get it!!! But do we really? A story about St. John, written in St. Jerome’s commentary on Galatians, tells how he was was carried into the midst of the congregation when he was old and unable to say anything except,”Little children, love one another.” When he was asked why he always spoke these same words, he replied,”Because it is the Lord’s command, and if this only is done, it is enough.”

I think, of all the Gospels, John’s emphasizes love more than the others. God’s love for us, to be sure, but also our love for God, manifested in our love for one another. This can also bring us to ask the question,” Just who is it I’m supposed to love?” The short answer is, of course, everyone, but let’s go more in-depth. Let’s look at the different ways we are to love different groups of people.

Getting the short answer out of the way, we can say to love all people the way God loves them. What would this mean? Well, as John would state in his Gospel, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..” God offers His Son to all, He loves all His creation and the grace He poured out at Calvary is extended to all, in the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this sense, He loves all the same. And yet, there is a deeper love, even than this.

Jesus reveals the love of the Father, “our” Father. This is the love that the Father has for His Son. This is a stronger and much deeper love, than the general love offered at Calvary. For through this love, we are incorporated into the family of God, through baptism, as His adopted sons and daughters. For baptism, identifies us with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection, in which we take up spiritual residence in the heavenly places. Therefore, as adopted sons and daughters, we are loved with an even greater love; a familial love. In other words, I may love my neighbor, but that love is not the same as the love I have for my family.

There is a love that will draw people in, if it is exhibited properly. Is this not what John is describing in the 13th chapter of his gospel,” This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” verse 35? This is the family love of which I’m speaking. If we love one another in the right way, is it not a more powerful witness of our personal relationship with Christ? Wouldn’t that surely bring people to us, for us to give an explanation for the hope within us? Is it not a more powerful testimony for God, for us to be unified before a world of unbelievers? Where is the power of the kingdom on earth? Was it not given to Christ’s body, the Church?

Now, in this type of love, familial love, we understand what St. Paul was writing to the Galatians in chapter 6 verse 10,” So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.”

Our love for God should be so great, that it causes all unbelievers to crave, or desire what we have with our heavenly Father. Love. The powerful love of God himself, poured out on us through the Holy Spirit, made pure by the blood of Christ. And that is precisely the love we should show one another, daily.

Let us not quench the Holy Spirit this week, but let Him love all people through us, for His glory and His name sake.

Amen.

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you. I like the way you present this.

    God’s best be yours this day
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

    Thanks Maria!

  2. “Just who is it I’m supposed to love?” – Good one!
    Thank you…

    Many blessings…

    Love,
    DulceDiana

    Am I the only one to ask that question? His blessings to you, as well.

  3. Is it not a more powerful testimony for God, for us to be unified before a world of unbelievers? Where is the power of the kingdom on earth? Was it not given to Christ’s body, the Church?

    Our love for God should be so great, that it causes all unbelievers to crave, or desire what we have with our heavenly Father. Love.

    Thanks for the love, Tim, great post. I really appreciate your thoughts.

    Diana

    Thanks Diana. For the comment and the visit! 🙂

  4. Tim,

    This post has a lot of substance to it… At first, I thought, “I’m not in the mood for reading” and then I heard, “Come on, Amber! Tim always has something good to say and it may be just what you need today!”

    And it was. I am in serious need of these reminders. After the readings at Mass on Sunday and today’s post, I realize just how far I am from really showing God’s love to others through my actions, even within my own home and with my own family and friends. God is far from finished with me!

    Wonderful post!

    Amber,
    Thanks for the comment. What an encouragement it is to me. I am so thankful that God used this post to speak to you, and the Spirit is prompting you to a greater faith and good works! God is far from finished with me, also! 🙂 His blessings to you and your family!

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