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A New Kind of Love

 

Today we hear Christ’s final message to his disciples. He gives them (and us) a commandment which he says is new – that we must love one another. We might ask is this really new? Didn’t the Old Testament command us to love our neighbour as ourself?

What is new is that Jesus is asking us to love one another as he loved us. As we all know, he loved us to death. If we want to see the ultimate measure of his love we look at the cross. Another way in which Jesus’ commandment is new is how he defines who is our neighbour. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows that everyone is our neighbour, even those of different nationality or religion. With Jesus, love for our neighbour has become much more demanding as it asks us to go beyond racism or prejudice. The really hard question is whether such love is possible. It’s clear that most of us, most of the time fail to live this new commandment fully. In the end, it is only when working with the grace of God that we can love our neighbour as ourselves in this new way. It is only by living every day with Jesus that we can love our neighbour in this new way. If not, we will be relying on our human efforts alone, and we will love with some other type of love, but not the unconditional love Jesus asked for when he said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.”

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