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Thursday, May 11, 2017

If you Love Me, Keep My Commandments

 We all know Jesus basic commandment--Love one another as I have loved you. (See John 15:12).  That sounds wonderful but when we reflect more deeply on those words we realize that they are very challenging words because He loved us by laying down His life for us.  Christian love then is not about holding hands and singing kumbaya, not that there is anything wrong with that, it is about sacrificing for one another, giving generously in every way to one another.  Our love can take many forms--love of spouse, of parents, of children, of brothers and sisters, of friends. For myself it is the love between myself and the other friars, the love I give and receive with God's people. However, no matter what form love takes it seems to me that it evokes 2 things from those who are loved--to spend time together and to strive, to sacrifice to please the one who loves me.

   Knowing that the Lord loves us calls us to these two things--to spend time with Him and to do the things that please Him.   As for the first, spending time with Him, that is our life of prayer and I will tackle that soon in another blog post.  For now I would like to concentrate on the second part--doing the things that please Him.  And what pleases Him?  He tells us directly. "If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

    A quick response to this invitation would be to go to the ten commandments.  Aren't those Jesus' commandments?   Certainly the Lord wants us to follow those, but He gives us a few others.  The 10 commandments tell us what not to do--commit idolatry, steal, lie, cheat, kill, commit adultery.  Fine, of course we ought not do those things.   But what about "love your enemies, and pray for your persecutors"? Or, "Forgive seventy times seven times"?  And then there is Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned (all implies in Matthew 25) Finally there are the beatitudes which while not exactly commandments tell us that we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, pure of heart or peacemakers. Then there is the most challenging of all--to take up the cross every day and follow Him (also a subject to be explored soon).

   I think you get the idea.  Without living out these challenging demands of the Gospel we reduce Christianity to a moral code.  We focus only on personal sin, especially sexual sin, and fail to truly live the Gospel.  Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that basic morality is not important.  What I am saying is that real Christian discipleship is so much more.

   Do you love Him?  Do you keep HIS commandments?

  

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