1.Acts 8:5-8,14-17
2.1Pet 3:15-18
John 14:15-21

" If you love me you will keep my commandments."

Dear brothers and sisters, in our gospel today Jesus says: " If you love me, you will keep my commandments, "( v.15). This is a very clear reason why we follow the commandments of God because we love Him. It will be wrong to think and say that we follow the commandments because we are afraid of hell; because we are expecting something. We go to mass not because we are afraid to commit mortal sin. We follow the commandments, we do good things and we want to be good because we love God. What are His commandments? There are only two which is a summary of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai. They are Love your God and love your neighbor. When He says that we should keep His commandments, actually He is teaching us that love is not just a mere word but an action. How should we make love concrete and possible in our lives?

In his book entitled , The Art of Loving, Eric Fromm, a psychologist lists the following virtues of love which I think is the best way on how to make love concrete and possible.

First we must have discipline. Discipline means doing something  hard because it is right. We are usually not very disciplined people why? It is because we tend to avoid the difficult, to take the easy way out. We often are not doing what is right because it involves sacrifice. But there can be no real love without sacrifice. Love is hard.

Let us take the love of  a mother and to her child as an example. There was a certain television show, whereby in that show there was a mother whose name was Patricia Magno. She was the mother of Johann Carlos who underwent a liver transplant operation because he had a congenital liver disease. The television's program host interviewed this mother. It was very interesting and touching by what that mother did and said. She made her life in danger by willingly donated a part of her liver to her son in order for him to live. She said : " If God will allow, even if I will have another child like Johan Carlos, she will repeatedly donate any part of her body in order that my child will live." She is not only a true mother, but also a great mother worthy of our praise.

Second, love must have patience. Love is not something that comes abruptly. We have to work at it and let it grow. A person who has  patience knows how to wait. A person who has patience reacts not by shouting and hungry but by prudence. We have also to be patient with ourselves and with others.

Thomas Lindberg, told a traditional Hebrew story that Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man who is weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man's feet and gave him food and drink. The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, " Don't you worship God?" The old traveler replied, " I worship fire only and reverence no other God." When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his tent into the cold night air.

However, when the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, " I forced him out because he did not worship you." God answered, " I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?

Third, love must be reasonable. It must have an intellectual basis and not base purely on emotion or feeling. It is because feeling change. It must have a practical basis also. Someone said: " Our head is a the top of our heart in order that our feeling must not dominated our reasoning. Just look at some people, their lives become messy because sometimes, they let their feelings and emotions govern their lives. They got involved with persons who are committed to somebody else and women got impregnated or some involve even with priests because of romantic feelings and vice versa. If we act without thinking, we distort love."

Fourth, love must have humility. The biggest obstacle to love is pride. It is very difficult to say, " I'm sorry!" Let us remember that humility is the foundation of a real love. The man who was once a president of united states of America, Abraham Lincolin  once got caught u in a situation where he wanted to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. Instead he said that the president was a fool. Lincoln was told what Santon had said, and he replied, " If Stanton said I'm a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I'll see for myself." As the two men talked, the president quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake, and without hesitation he with it.

Fifth, love must have faith. Faith means that we believe even if we do not have any evidence whatsoever, of our belief. The most deadly enemy of love is lack of trust and faith.

We must have courage to love. In many ways courage is the most important of factors that strengthen people to reach out and touch other people. But how often we do not reach out because we are insecure and because we are afraid of rejection? It takes a lot of courage to love.

Loving is what life is all about. But it takes discipline and patience. It has to be reasonable. It needs faith and trust, humility and courage in order to make it concrete and possible. To remain in love with God every day, we must remind ourselves that our most important appointment for the day is our appointment with God, and that our most important agenda is to love.

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Chapisha Maoni