Daily Thought For May 19, 2019
God's Love Sets Us Free
John 13:31–33a, 34–35
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Imagine yourself as the leader of an association, business, or social group. If you wanted to brand your followers with a sign that would make them easy to recognize, what would you choose? Would they all wear the same clothes? Would they speak a particular language? Would they would be experts at a particular trade or manufacture a unique product?
Jesus did something completely revolutionary. He “branded” his disciples with his very self, but left them free to make him visible by loving others. Saint John says that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16). Love is the imprint of God’s very being upon us, within us. If the world is going to see God, it will only see him to the extent that you and I are willing to make him visible in our relationships with one another. How much do you and I want to make God visible?
True, loving one another is a difficult task. It’s about living as Jesus did, continually giving our lives away. That’s what love does. It goes out of itself in search of the good of the other, so as to give the other life. But it’s also about openness to receiving the love God offers us through the other. And that has its challenges too.
The possibilities for how to spend the years of our lives or even just the present moment are immense. Jesus invites us to a life of loving one another so that the world might believe, so that he might be made more visible, so that we might be identified as his disciples—branded with love. It’s not that we have to tattoo a heart on our arm, but it is as though love is what we wear. Love is what we speak. Love is what we are experts at. Love is what we produce. You can’t touch or feel it, but you know he is there.
Jesus, you are my Master. I really do want to be recognized as your disciple. Loving others is the path I must walk. Left on my own, the task would be impossible. But you have given us everything we need to make that mutual loving possible. You have given me your Word and the Eucharist to daily nourish your love within me. Your Holy Spirit continually alerts me to the daily opportunities to show your love to others. Help me to be docile to the Spirit’s lead.
Jesus, may all whom I meet today recognize a little bit more of you in me.
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 74–75). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.