I give you a new commandment: love one another;you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognize you as my disciples. John 13:34-35
There is nothing new about love. It can be found in the Old Testament as a commitment as well as emotion. God gave the command through Moses. David and Johnathan shared a close friendship. Ruth was devoted to Naomi. King Solomon was very passionate about his new bride. It is not hard to find many other examples of old love.
What is new about the commandment is that Jesus challenges us to love as he has loved. We are to love when it makes more sense to be fearful. We are to love when it makes more sense to be spiteful. Consider that the Lord is about to be arrested, put on trial, and executed. He is among one who will betray him and the others who will abandon him. And what does he do? He shares a special meal with them and washes their feet after dinner. When God gave the commandment, Israel had been liberated from bondage and was approaching the promised land. Loving in a time of optimism is good. But, the challenge is to love as Jesus did; love when pain and suffering are nearby. David, Johnathan, Ruth, Naomi were loyal to one another, even in stressful times. Standing by someone’s side in a crisis is a good thing. But, the challenge is to love as Jesus did; love those who will abandon and back stab you.
Such a love seems foolish as we expect love in return, especially when we need to receive it. But, consider the one who set this pattern. New love cannot remain dead. It rises and invites us to glories this world cannot give.
Yours in Christ,
Brother Cyprian Bluemood
Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene