“Love one another, as I have loved you.” In one form or another, Jesus tells us to “love one another” eleven times in the Bible. The Lord does not offer this as a suggestion nor as an option. He offers it as one of the two most important commandments. If we have made an effort to genuinely love one another, we will have gone a long way to living as faithful disciples.
Today’s Second Reading from the First Letter of John could not be more specific on our call to love one another. St. John used the word “agape” to make clear the kind of love. This love from God is self-giving without expectation of a return. This is the kind of love God feels for us. Too often we may do something with the expectation of getting something back. We need to love the way God loves us. That is what John is trying to teach and explain to us.
Each of us has heard the expression “God is love” countless times. However, have we truly embraced it? We need to sincerely accept that love. In response, it is essential we commit ourselves to loving in the same way. If we do that, God’s love can transform not only each of us but also those around us. This is the love Jesus intends for us. This is the love we must strive to achieve.