6th Sunday of Easter Reflection
FINDING THE ORIGIN OF LOVE – John 15:9-17
Love is not our intrinsic nature. Somewhere along the timeline of our human development, we lost our connectivity. We may call this original sin or original woundedness. Feral or ‘wild children’ who have been abandoned, lost, and reared by animals in nature, and who are later rescued, are totally unable to develop relationships, or to come to full self-awareness; they are unable to love or to know love.
This has been the evidence in every case that has ever been recorded; from the Wild Girl of Champagne, the Syrian Gazelle Boy, the Russian Bird Boy of Prava to the first recorded case of Wild Peter captured in Hanover in 1724.
The window period for the development of this ability to form relationships is about three to four years. Love is something that has to be initiated within us. Apologies to all our Tarzan lovers. We always come to others with a love that we ourselves have experienced from others. We love others from something we feel in ourselves. There are people outside ourselves whom we love. It isn’t something we do because we have been ordered to do; we just feel it, and then act accordingly.
When we love, we are re-enacting something we have inherited from others. It did not come from something intrinsic to us. Once we get this sequence right, we will come to know that our desire to love; the love we have within us, and which we have to give to another, must be given in order to be sustained.
In order to understand this command of love, we need to recall some act of love that touched us very deeply. Remembering something a person said to us or perhaps suffered for us. This is not the type of emotional love that gives us a high, or a transactional love based on self-interest even when this is hidden behind a smokescreen of devotion. Those people who sacrifice themselves for others are more likely to be found on the fringes of society rather than on the grand stages of “the Bold and the Beautiful”. When we have been touched by such deep sacrificial gift love, something within us changes and takes on a new life.
We may have come face to face in some way with great suffering or perhaps even a life-changing situation or a life-threatening illness, and have experienced the love of Jesus the Christ in some way.
When such an encounter takes place, the change that takes place within us is fundamental. It is as though we have found the truth of who we really are and in this reality, any illusions or lies become excruciatingly painful. The only response to such great sacrificial or gift love flowing from God is a complete and selfless gift of ourselves in return.
We can also apply the passage to our relationship with the wider world. In all the great trouble spots of the world there are always people who spend their lives, and sometimes give their lives, working for peace between warring factions. Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” We give ourselves to others in the same way that others have given themselves to us. Once we love others we find that we can share with them the truth of who we really are. Sharing our woundedness with another in love is the beginning of our journey to wholeness.
Jesus makes the connection between “keeping commandments” and “remaining in his love”. Commandments in this passage do not refer to a series of obligations. Keeping his Father’s commandments means simply that with Jesus, we can remain serene in the awareness of God’s love no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.
All love produces joy. It is like an unnamed consequence of giving one’s life to others. If our love doesn’t produce joy, it can’t be right. We have to add something to it which we may have neglected. “This is my commandment, love one another as I have loved you”. The Christian commandment to love is based on Jesus’ love for us. We love not merely from ourselves but because the love of Christ has taken charge of us. This is our reconnection to the source, to Origin.
Jesus then goes on to make the connection between love and the relationship between friends. He goes to the heart of what being a friend is all about. It means seeing another in the light of our experience; in the Light of Truth. “A servant does not know his master’s business, but I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father.” This tells us that we are seen not as servants but as friends. “You did not choose me, no I chose you”.
We often act as if we are the ones responsible for loving others. We do not really choose the person we decide to love in this way. It is God who chooses us to reach out to them through us. This is our connection to the power source. We must be aware of this fact and respond accordingly.
Then Jesus gives an important lesson. “I commissioned you” means first that he has sent us out and that we are to go out and bring about results. The results are simply “to bear fruit”, to show the world what True love looks like. When all is said and done, what really counts in life is this principle of True love. Once we know how to Love in the right order, we have already kept all of God’s commandments.
- 29th Sunday Reflection: The Outcast that Redeems - October 15, 2021
- 28th Sunday Reflection: The Way Out of Discontent and Loneliness - October 8, 2021
- 27th Sunday Reflection: Compassion and Mercy as the Act of Love - October 1, 2021