Scripture: Lectionary # 285. Acts 14:5-18. Psalm 115. 1-2.3-4.15-16. John

Monday's Readings

Jesus tells us that we, his disciples, will experience his love (agapan,
agape) and his Father's love. We know from theology that the love between
Jesus and the Father is the Holy Spirit. Our careful listening to the
Gospel will reveal that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things we need to
know in order to witness to our belief in the Person of Jesus. We are
hearing from Jesus that obedience which means listening and doing in the
Gospel is what enables us to accomplish his commandments of love. In our
short selection the verb or noun of love is mentioned six times telling us
that this is certainly the main point of the pericope. With love we will be
able to understand what Jesus means when he speaks of the Holy Spirit.
John tells us about love some forty-six times in his Gospel and thirty-one
in his epistles (agapan, the verb form). The noun is used seven times in
the Fourth Gospel, while in the epistles of John twenty-one times (agape).
In both forms he uses it more than all of the Synoptic Gospels use of both
forms. This may give us a great help in interpreting and meditating upon
the gift of love and leading us to an appreciation of the Person of the
Holy Spirit--God's and Jesus' love. Chapters thirteen to twenty-one are
called the Book of Glory, but it could easily be named the Book of Love
thus complementing the Book of Signs (chapters one through twelve) which
are centered on belief and trust in the Person of Jesus. The verb for
believing is used ninety-eight times in the Fourth Gospel!

How do we learn about the type of love that Jesus is speaking about? By
taking the revelatory words of the Gospel of love and this includes the
other three Gospels and putting into action what the wishes, commandments,
and thoughts of Jesus are telling us on this specific day. Love is shown
and is more of an experience than a concept or an emotional high. Agapan
means the highest form of love which has already been revealed to us from
the beginning in the Hebrew Scriptures : "Listen attentively, O Israel, The
Lord our God , the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with
all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. And
these words which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart."
Jesus fulfilled this to his utmost and asks us to do the same as we learn
from the washing of the feet of his disciples. The opening verse shows us
Jesus loving us in this way even to the last breath of his life (John
13:1). There is no greater love than this in both testaments and we learn
it from Moses and from Jesus, the Son of God. In the Hebrew text the final
letters for hear and one are written large in order to concentrate our
attention upon the meaning of the whole verse. This is at the heart of
believing in God in the Old Testament and the same holds for what Jesus is
saying to us in the New Testament in the Gospel of John, a Gospel of love.
Paschal has a beautiful saying that may help us to understand John better:
" The heart has its reasons that reason does not comprehend."

As the intimate friends and disciples of Jesus we are experiencing such
love and this includes the love of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The
Holy Spirt is the personal promise of Jesus. He reveals the Third Person of
the Trinity in order to give us another Comforter and Friend as he, Jesus,
comes to the end of his life poured out on the Cross. This Holy Spirit whom
the Father will send will teach us all things if we are faithful listeners
and doers of the word of God given to us by the Son of God. We know from
Isaiah that God's word are always effective and by our own cooperating with
those words we too become active agents of God's redeeming love. We do
this by putting into action the commandments of God-- loving others as we
love ourselves, and loving God as we love them whom we see and interact
with on a daily basis. We therefore sing out with Psalm 118:1: "Give
thanks to the Lord who is good whose love is everlasting." Amen. Alleluiah!