Lectio Divina: John 15:12-17
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God, loving Father,
You have given us your Son Jesus Christ
as the true vine of life
and our source of strength.
Help us to live His life
as living branches attached to the vine,
and to bear plentiful fruit
of justice, goodness and love.
Let our union with Him become visible
in our openness to one another
and in our unity as brothers and sisters,
that He may be visibly present among us
now and for ever.
2) Gospel Reading - John 15:12-17
Jesus said to his disciples: "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. 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 and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another."
• Today Gospel of John 15:12-17: Jesus defines His relationship with the disciples and gives His final commandment to them. Let us take some of the points considered that day.
• John 15:12-13: To love one another as He has loved us. The commandment of Jesus is only one: “to love one another as I have loved you!” (Jn 15:12) Jesus exceeds the Old Testament. The ancient criteria was the following: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lv 18:19). The new criteria is this: “Love one another as I have loved you.” It is the sentence that we sing even today and which says, “There is no greater love than to give one’s life for one’s brother!”
• John 15:14-15: Friends and not servants. You are My friends if you do what I command you,” that is, the practice of love to the point of total gift of oneself! Immediately Jesus presents a very high ideal for the life of His disciples. He says, “I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I have learned from My Father!” Jesus no longer held any secrets from His disciples. He tells us everything that He has heard from the Father! Behold the wonderful ideal of life in community: to reach a state of total transparency to the point of not having any secrets among us and to have full trust in one another. Being able to enrich one another by speaking about the experience of God that we have. The first Christians succeeded in reaching this ideal after many years: “They had one only heart and one only soul” (Acts 4:32; 1:14; 2:42-46).
• John 15:16-17: Jesus has chosen us. We have not chosen Jesus. He met us, called us and entrusted a mission to us to go and bear fruit, and a fruit which lasts. We need Him, but He also wants to need us and our work in order to be able to continue to do today for the people what He did for the people of Galilee. This is My commandment: love one another!”
4) For Personal Consideration
• To love our neighbor as Jesus has loved us. This is the ideal of every Christian. He showed this not only by dying for us, but by devoting His life to helping us to know and find God the Father. Do I love as Jesus loved and devote my life in the same way?
• All that I have heard from the Father I make it known to you. This is the ideal of the community: total transparency. How do I live this in my community, which can be family, parish, neighborhood or religious order?
• Jesus called them “friends” and told them to love one another. Do I make distinctions, rather than considering all equally, among those in my community whom I should call “friends”? How do I respond or accept it when I am treated differently than another “friend” in my community?
5) Concluding Prayer
My heart is ready, God, my heart is ready;
I will sing, and make music for You.
Awake, my glory, awake, lyre and harp,
that I may awake the dawn. (Ps 57:7-8)