Dear Brothers & Sisters,
“I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you.” This commandment, the author of the Gospel of John tells us, was given during what is referred to as the “Farewell Discourse.” Jesus sits at table with His friends, washes their feet and proceeds to give them a new commandment. The commandment to love each other was not what was new. What was new was to love others as He, Jesus, loved them and by extension loves us.
How did He love them? At the Last Supper and Farewell Discourse, He showed them how much they were loved. They were loved to the point of Him giving His flesh and blood to eat and drink, and making Himself a servant by washing their feet. Later on, He will show them how perfect His love was. He suffered, died and rose from the dead. He died rejected by even His friends but He still held them as His friends. That’s how much He loved them and loves us.
He also commands us to love others as He loves us. But why should we be commanded to love? If to love is natural, why should we be commanded to love? It is natural and or normal to love but not as Jesus loves. He loved and loves with no conditions attached. Left to ourselves we won’t love that way. Hence, He gives us a new commandment... “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Fr Clement Paul,