The word ‘love’ appears nine times in today’s Gospel alone. Why? Because love is what this Gospel is all about.
Remain in my love. Jesus particularly stresses this as he speaks to His disciples. Who would not want to spend time with their friends? It is the same with Jesus here:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.”
And later, “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.”
Jesus loved His disciples, each and every one. He loves us. He loves YOU; enough to die for you, to pay the greatest price one can pay, for YOU. And he wants you to remain in that love.
Now, what does it mean, to remain in His love?
Firstly, though he does say “keep my commandments and you will remain in my love”, it does not mean that if you follow His commandments he will love you, no! God will always love you, whether you follow His commandments or not. Even if you go to hell, God will not cease to love you. He will always love you.
So then, what does it mean? Remaining in God’s love means remaining in Him. God is love, and remaining in His love means remaining in Him. Being one with Him. My mind goes to John 17:11, where Jesus prays “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.”
Remaining in Jesus means living with Him. Becoming one with Him. Not shoving Him outside of the box. Inviting Him into your life. Because life without Christ is no life at all. Remaining in Jesus, remaining in His love, is a choice. A choice to live with Him at the center of your life. Remaining in Jesus’s love is to hold His hand, to choose to be there, to put yourself there, right next to Him, for keeps.
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love…” We don’t always follow His commandments, and so we fall away. But every time he, the Good Shepherd, comes looking for us. He wants us to be with Him and he continually seeks us out.
Remaining in His love is not a coincidence, it’s a choice. Will you?
Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.
Feature Image Credit: J_Photo, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/19970-sacred-heart-of-jesus