“Love one another”
In today’s reading, John speaks about Jesus’ command that we love one another. This teaching is so key, Jesus made it a second commandment. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
John tells us that “we have passed from death to life”. We don’t go back and forth, we have passed out of death through Jesus. And, we know this and others know this because we love one another. Not just some people (people we know and like; ones who are easy to love), but even the ones who are difficult, different from us, far away from us – even our enemies.
John reminds us that we are to use Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us as an example of how to love the people around us. There are people who are called to give their lives for others but most of us are called to demonstrate this love in kind, compassionate and helpful actions. Reading a book to a child, preparing a meal for someone, donating food for the hungry, participating in a church clean-up day, or a smile when you greet someone – these are all expressions of Jesus’ love. The works won’t earn us a place in heaven but they are a symptom of the changes Jesus makes in us when we let him in.