Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter.
“Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. …I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. O, to be a disciple of the Lord! To be loved. What a feeling of relief and of joy. What a source of strength, of courage and of gratitude.
But what about those who do not believe? What about those who do not know? “Have no fear,” we say, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” This is our never-ending love story; that is, a love story with no start and no ending: for as the Father loves the Son, so the Son loves us. Can’t I say these same words Christ said to me? “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”
Everything Christ said is true. Everything He said is inspiring and reassuring. When He spoke He was always uplifting (even when He uplifted the tables of the moneychangers), for love uplifts and uproots. Love is the creating force behind all life. It is even the creating force behind death.
As the Father loves me.... Wait a minute! Wait one darn minute! Is this what I think it is? What exactly does this mean? Is this some legal statement, written in fine print, at the bottom of what appeared to be a great deal; a “too-good-to-be-true” contract? Is this some kind of false advertizing?
Well, we all know by now how the Father loves His Son. We all know what the Son went through for His Father; well, to be honest, what He went through for us.
Yes, this is kind of the bad news mixed in with the Good News. It’s like, “I have some good news and some bad news. Which one do you want first?” No wonder why the Lord is pleading, almost begging, His disciples to remain in Him. Remain in me! Okay? Got it! Remain in me…
But to be honest, it isn’t good news and bad news. It’s all Good News. It’s just that there may be some pain… before there’s any glory; some stinging before any healing. It’s not bad, but it might feel that way. It’s all love.
Love doesn’t stink. It stings. It hurts. And it can hurt for a while. But that is not how love (or the one who loves) ends, at least not Christ’s love. Christ’s love ends in joy, in forgiveness, in compassion and in mercy. His love is refreshing. It is surprising. It opens the eyes of those who shut them tight, and shuts the mouths of those who opened them wide and for far too long.
Christ’s love is understandable, yet still hard to follow. We know He suffered a horrific death, just like so many others; and went through great pains to be understood, just like so many others; and that His life’s fruits were only a few, a tiny few, with even fewer at His side when He died. But His love endured upon the Cross, and even after death. And it continues to endure even now, even forever.
Why? Because Christ’s love ended in joy, not in pain. And this can be ours as well, if only we persevere. No wonder why He said, “Remain in my love…I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”
Let’s allow Him to complete it, shall we? Are you ready to sign at the dotted line?