1.Acts 14:21-27
Gospel: John 13:31-33a.34-35

                              " Love that does not seek interest."

It happened that there was a little girl who was born without an ear. She always became shy and introverted person. There were times when she would go home crying because her classmates made fun of her. When she became a teenager, her mother brought her to a surgeon who performed an ear transplant on her. The operation was very successful and she became a normal and happy person.

Not long after she had a boy friend. After several years, she decided to get married. On the eve of her wedding day, she went inside her mother's room to thank her. But as she embraced her she noticed something strange that was not normal to her mother's body. She realized that beneath the long hair of her mother was a missing ear.

She cried and said: " It was you! All these years you didn't tell me it was you." The mother replied: " My child, I didn't tell you because I want you to be happy, to see you happy with your life. You don't lose something when you give it to someone you love."

In our gospel today, the Lord says: " Love one another as I have loved you." In this statement, once again, Jesus reminds us that love is the soul of our Christian life. It is not the liturgy or cultic worship but love which is the core and the soul of our Christian life.

When St. Benedict was asked, what is the measure of love, he answered: " The measure of love is to love without measure." Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us an example of love without measure. He did not condemn Mary Magdalene. He called St.Matthew to be His apostle even though Matthew was a tax collector and a sinner. He even was not afraid to touch and heal the sick and stretched our his hands to the lepers who were considered as ' untouchables' during that time because nobody wanted to touch them and be near to them.

There was an article in one of the news papers entitled: " Loving another is loving yourself." The author of that article said: " If you are asked what qualities you want in partners, what will they be? Actually, these qualities are the ones you desire for yourself. In other words you want your partner to be an extension of yourself."

Can we make a comparison between the words of this author to that of Jesus in our today's gospel? " Love one another as I have loved you,"( v34). What do you think, can these words of the author be applied to Jesus? probably they can, since the command of Jesus to love others because he loved us first is for the good of us.
On this statement of Jesus we may learn two things, based on the idea of what is love according to Jesus' mind.

First, it is a command. It is not an invitation. It is not a request and it is not an option. First and foremost, it is a command or an order. Being a command it calls for total obedience on our part. In other words, it is an obligation to love one another.

Second, the Lord says to us: " Love one another." He did not say, " Love one another when you are both young or when you are both healthy." He did not say, " Love one another when the other loves you or good to you or he/she is cute or he/she is rich," and other. The Lord only says," Love one another even if she /he doesn't love you or like or refuses to forgive you or he/she is no longer cute and desirable." In other words, to love is forever.

One of the most misused words in the English language today is the word ' love.' In most songs which we hear today, " love" means "sex." But that is not all what love means in the basic passages on love in the New Testament.

In the original language of the Greek New Testament, there are four different words for " love" One is erotic love which means sexual love or the sexual drive of the body. This attraction also exists in animals. It is the lowest kind of love; it is completely selfish. The second kind of love is the love of friendship. in this kind of love we like people because we feel good with them. They are good friends and pleasant company. This love gives us something, so it is a bit selfish. The third kind of love exists between parents and children. It comes closer to real love because it is usually unselfish. And we call this as philial love.

The fourth kind of love is selfless love which is called, " agape" in Greek. This is the ideal love which Jesus talks t in today's gospel. This is the highest type of love, the love of God has for us. This is the love that described so well by St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians( chapter 13)

The teaching of Jesus about loving one another, takes in different forms. It is because in the gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus says: " You shall love your neighbor as yourself," ( 22:39). Ordinarily, for the Jewish people, their neighbor is to include any individual who is in need of help. This is what we understand in the Parable of the Good Samaritan: Every person in need, whether he lives next door or a town away, whether she is beautiful or ugly, is a neighbor.

Jesus asks his disciples to us as measure in loving people the love they have for themselves. They are to treat another person as their own flesh and bone. This is not an easy thing to do. As a matter of fact, we normally have different standards for ourselves and for others. The natural tendency is to give ourselves first priority or utmost care and to provide others with lesser or no attention. By asking us to love a neighbor as our own self, the Lord simply is helping us overcome narcissistic(excessive love of one's self) tendencies. We all belong to the one body of Christ and we need to behave like we really are part of one another.

But what is this Christ's-like love? It is a love  that is agapic; a love ' in spite of ' and not ' love if'  or ' love because.'  Agape is unconditional love, a love that is not motivated by lovableness of the other. It does not say: " I will love you if you will become the valedictorian of your class" or " I will love you if you can afford to buy me a beautiful car." It is love for even the unlovable, including  the poor and one's enemies. His love is self sacrificing, unselfish an unselective. The love of Jesus also is not merited love, which only is bestowed upon those who possess adorable qualities. It never says: " I love you because you are considerate" or " I love you because you are faithful."

We are called by Jesus to do the same thing, that is to love each one not because he or she is lovable but in spite of the fact that he or she may not be lovable. We are to love even our enemies and sinners too. For example, Jesus loved his disciples forgivingly. Peter denied Him. Judas Iscariot betrayed Him and the other disciples abandoned Him in His hour of need but Jesus had nothing against them and there was no failure and sins that he never forgive.

At the end let us reflect on the word life and love. Life is a four -letter word that is very meaningful. L stands for LOVE; I stands for INSPIRATION; F stands for FORGIVENESS; E stands for EVERLASTIN. No matter who, what, where and when you found LIFE; always remember that only GOD can satisfy your LIFE.

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Chapisha Maoni