Do you ever wish you had a nickel (inflation is low) for every time you hear Jesus’ love command quoted from scripture? It is arguably one of His most important statements: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:31-35)
We just recently heard these words in the Gospel for Maundy Thursday, and we will hear them again in a few weeks on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, with “resurrection” hindsight. We recognize His words as the hallmark of the Church, and a vision of the kingdom of God. We are, after all, Easter people.
Jesus commands us to do what we want most to do and experience in life, to love and be loved. By following his example, by being Jesus to each other, we find ourselves in that awesome place of mercy and grace we call the kingdom of God, where we are known not by our liturgies, or sermons, or buildings, or creeds, but by our love.
The challenge to love as Jesus loves is not just loving those who love you. Jesus demonstrated his love by dying even for those who clearly did not and do not love him. The degree of difficulty is beyond measure, but whether we succeed or not in our efforts to love one another, Jesus never fails to love us. And you can take that to the bank, nickel by nickel.