Jesus says in our Gospel today: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
The first half of Jesus’ teaching is already found in the third book of the Old Testament. Leviticus 19:18 already says “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the Golden Rule, found in lots of different religious traditions.
So what makes Jesus’ command new? It is new because Jesus has come and illustrated exactly what love is. So Jesus adds to the end of the Golden Rule this 2nd piece of His teaching: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
In the Old Testament, God asked us to love our neighbor as ourself. But Jesus, by becoming a human being and laying down His life for us, shows us that love actually involves a willingness to in some ways love our neighbor more than ourself…no longer putting our neighbors needs on the same level as our needs as Leviticus asks, but Jesus now calls us to actually put our neighbors needs ABOVE our needs. To put our own desires last! And that is why Jesus says “I give you a new commandment.”
Let us put our needs last, let us cooperate with the Grace God is pouring out on us to Love our neighbors, and to actually put our neighbors needs over our own needs, wants and desires.
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