In today’s first reading we have: “Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.” I am not perfect, but mostly have “part one” in hand… it’s part two. I wish it were that easy.We love who we love – but we mostly measure that as our emotional response. We like who we like – the familiar and who largely agree with us. We acknowledge others with whom we interact. Most people we pay little to no attention to. We only have so much bandwidth of time and energy.
Another reason it can be difficult for us to love others is that we sometimes misunderstand what true love is. We tend to think of love as primarily an emotional response. The problem is that we cannot always control our emotions. We can certainly control what we do because of the emotions, but too often the emotions themselves just happen.
But the kind of love God calls us to have for others is the same kind that He has for us. It is agape love, the essence of which is sacrifice. God’s love for us is a sacrificial love, the kind that sent Him to the cross for our sins. He didn’t save us because we were lovable; He saved us because His love caused Him to sacrifice Himself for us.
Do we love others enough to sacrifice for them, even when they are not lovable? …and I not sure how easy that is! But are we willing to try?