On the night before he died and just after Judas has left the upper room, Jesus gives the rest of the disciples a command and a promise. He tells them to love one another and the guarantee is that people will know that they are his disciples. There is both a challenge and a reassurance. On a later occasion Jesus went as far as to say that we would be judged on the love we show to others.
Living out that commandment to love one another isn’t easy, even within our own families. Because we are all imperfect creatures. It’s easy to love those who are kind and loving towards us but Christian love calls us to do more than this. No one must be excluded from our loving. Even our enemies and those who have hurt us. We all know just how difficult that is though. We are called to recognise God, present in everyone we meet and treat them accordingly. So, becoming real Christians is probably the work of a lifetime and not something that happens overnight. It requires a lot of patience on our part.
If we have truly experienced God’s love in our lives and we allow him to enter our hearts, we are asked to share that unconditional love with others and become channels of his grace. The challenge for all of us in today’s Gospel is to look at our own lives and into our own hearts to see how we are answering this call to love each other as he loves us.