(Jn 14:23-29) Can you really love a person if you know very little about them? If you tell someone you love them yet make no effort to show how much you care, is your love for them sincere? The answers to these questions may seem self-evident when we speak of our day-to-day relationships with our family and friends, yet we do not always apply that same standard of behaviour to our relationship with Jesus. Can we really say that we love Jesus if we don’t know much about Him? And if we say we love Him but our actions don’t show it, is our love genuine?
Love is not something that is soft and sentimental. It is demanding; it asks something of us. Love is what gets us out of bed in the middle of the night when our child is sick. It is what inspires us to go that extra mile to help a friend who is in need. Today, Jesus tells us how we can measure the sincerity of our love for Him. “Whoever loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14:23). In other words, it is not enough to just say that we love Jesus; our love must also be made visible in our actions. But what exactly does it mean to keep Jesus’ Word?
When we speak of Jesus’ Word, the first thing that we think of is the Bible, especially the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth, His life and teachings, and His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. The Gospel of John begins by saying, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). The Word is Jesus Himself, the Son of God, and it is through meditating on His life and what He taught – especially as revealed to us in Sacred Scripture – that we can come to know Him and understand His teachings.
We may know many things about Jesus’ life – we may even have memorized many of the words that He spoke – yet still not know or love Him. We must rely on the grace of God – His gifts of faith, hope, and charity – to instil that love within us. It is through prayer and meditating on Scripture – by thoughtfully reflecting on what it means in our lives – that the the Holy Spirit can inspire within our hearts a genuine response to God’s love. When we allow Him to transform us, our actions become a witness of our love for Jesus to everyone we meet. It is then that we will know that we truly love Him.
– Sharon van der Sloot