Love one another as I have loved you

Today’s Gospel reading comes from Jesus’ words to his disciples at the Last Supper. The words that stand out are ‘love,’ ‘joy’ and ‘friends.’ Jesus gives his disciples the commandment, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ He has just shown them his love by washing their feet – an act of humble service. Soon he will give his life for on the Cross for the whole of humanity. Jesus calls his disciples to follow his example of love, giving themselves completely for others as he does. 

He tells the disciples, ‘You are my friends.’ Can we really be friends with the Son of God? Yes, Jesus says, if we live by his commandment of love. If we respond to God’s love by loving God and our neighbour, then we will be his friends; an awesome and wonderful challenge.

And Jesus tells his disciples that he takes joy in them. That may surprise us even more. We know all about our own sins and failures. How can Jesus take joy in us? But God made us and God loves us without conditions. We are God’s precious children and he delights in us. All that God asks is that we love him in return – and then our joy will be complete.

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