What does it mean to be called into agape love and to love our neighbor as ourselves? And more importantly, how can we adequately fulfill this commandment Jesus gave us in today’s reading? At first blush it doesn’t appear as if this should be too hard, after all, to love another conjures up visions of joy and happiness – visions of love. Images of a romantic love, parent-child love, and of brotherly love flood our minds with much warmth. How blessed are we to worship our God – he who is love himself. As his children he wishes nothing more than for us to share in his beauty of love. This love, where God bestows infinite gifts on his children as he promised the Prophet Hosea, is the same love Jesus calls us to participate in and extend to our neighbor. Yes, we are called into a deep love, a love that is in unison with God’s agape love.
Love and Forgiveness
So now the question becomes, what must we do so that we can truly love our neighbor with agape love? Obviously forgiveness is a key component and we must seek to grow in forgiveness so that love can more fully bloom within our relationship with others. However, there is more involved in addition to forgiveness if we are to share in the fatherly love of God, the communal love of the Holy Spirit, and the brotherly love of Jesus Christ.
To start the journey of understanding the path set before us we need to do a bit of self-examination. However, given that we are pretty good at deceiving ourselves and justifying our less than loving behavior, we must solicit the assistance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Advocate who is here to help and guide us in love.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. – John 14:15-31