This weekend at Mass we open the 13th Chapter of the Gospel of John. In this Chapter we hear words that the author places on the lips of Jesus at the time of the last supper. The words of Jesus quoted in today’s Gospel are these: “Love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know you are my disciples”.
The ancient word used here, that is translated as “love” in English actually embodies notions such as “respect”, “understanding”, “empathy”, “solidarity”, and “kindness”. Our English word “love” does not quite embody such depth of meaning. This ancient meaning is what the Gospel intends when it invites us to “love one another”. We are asked to give each other respect, understanding, empathy, solidarity and kindness.
Actually we should find it relatively easy to “love” one another if we fully understand the true meaning of the word “love”
It is though much easier to love each other when we appreciate how much we have in common as human beings and, more importantly, when we appreciate what we have in common as Christians – We believe we are children of God and sharers in His eternal existence because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Yet no two of us are exactly alike. We all differ in some ways. Nevertheless we all share a common gift – Eternal life.
Parents all say that each one of their children is unique and each of them is different. Each has different temperament, characteristics and personalities. Yet they share the same family genes and the influence of the same parental care. In fact what unites children from the same family is greater then what divides them.
So it is with us as Christians – Although we are all different we are all Children of God. Hence the invitation to respect, understand, empathise, be in solidarity with and be kind to each other should not be hard. We are invited to do what is so easy, really.