Nowadays, the word ‘love’ has been overused, abused, underused and how it is bandied about constantly in the media. But it is a fact that love is universally identified both as the primary need of people and the greatest lack of humankind. As a result, the word ‘love’ occurs in great speeches and poetry more any other word. But what kind of love are we dealing with here? Harold Sala, a Christian author, in his book Joyfully Single in a Couples’ World, proposes a positive definition of love that we should be dealt with. He says: “There is a great deal of difference between loving and being in love. Love is a decision, a commitment to care and you can make that decision regardless of the temperature of your heart. Being in love with someone is great, but loving transcends the emotions that attract us to each other sexually,” (p. 84).
Love is one of the greatest Christian themes. We, Christians, are taught that God is love, that love is what put Jesus on the cross and that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. In fact we are supposed to feel such kind of love that we are willing to lay down our lives for another.
Today’s gospel, which is part of His Last Supper discourse, Jesus speaks of the love He has for His disciples and of His Father’s love. He exhorts them to prove their love for Him through their loyalty and obedience to His word. In commenting this love, Saint Augustine says: “The Lord loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.” God loves each one of us and this love is as real and tangible as the love of a mother for her child. It is because He makes us know Him personally and to grow in the knowledge of His great love for us. How can we know and be assured of the love of God? Somebody said that the Holy Spirit helps us to grow in the knowledge of God and his great love. The Spirit enables us to experience the love of God and to be assured of the Lord’s abiding presence with us. The Holy Spirit also opens our ears to hear and understand the word of God.
In relation to this truth, I read this story of C. H. Spurgeon, from an unknown author, that one day he was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: GOD IS LOVE. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought this was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said, “but God’s love is constant.”
“I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend. “You misunderstood the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”
Do we listen attentively to God’s word and believe it? Let us ask the Holy Spirit to inflame our hearts with the love of God and His word.