Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
Today’s Gospel Reading is part of Jesus’ Last Discourse (Chapter 14 to 17). Earlier Jesus has given His disciples a farewell gift: a new commandment of brotherly love (Jn 13:34). From this brotherly love, not only the world will see and know Jesus, but those who keep His commandment will receive further gifts from Him, gifts that in the Old Testament time only God could give.
The love of the Father
In the Old Testament, the gauge of love is the love of God (Dt 6:5). Love of God is not about emotional or spiritual feeling but “to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes” (Dt 10:12-13) and He will love and watch over those who love Him (Prv 8:7, Ps 145:20). Jesus now connects the love of God to the love of one’s neighbor (Mt 22:36-40, Mk 12:28-31). He Himself is the yardstick in loving others. In keeping Jesus’ word, we keep God’s word (Jn 14:24; 16:15). The unity of the Father and the Son manifests itself in the Father’s love for those who now love the Son and God will not only watch over them but will make His home with them (Jn 14:21,23; Rv 21:3).
The divine indwelling
In the Old Testament, God dwelt among His chosen people in the tabernacle/temple (1 Kgs 8:27, Ez 37:27, Zec 2:10-13). Jesus now connects God’s presence to Himself (Mt 12:6, Jn 2:19; 14:7,9-10). After His departure from the world, through the coming of the Holy Spirit, He continues to live among those who love Him and are faithful to His word (Jn 14:16-17, 23-26). Today His abiding presence is in the Eucharist, in the Holy Scriptures and in the teachings of the Church. In baptism, Christians received not only sanctifying grace but also the divine indwelling of the Holy Trinity------God the Father (1 Jn 4:15-16), God the Son (Acts 17:28, Mt 28:20) and God the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16).
In the Old Testament, Shalom (Hebrew for peace) is not just an absence of disturbances. It includes wholeness, harmony and prosperity. God alone is understood to be the source of peace (Jgs 6:24) and God’s peace is a gift (Lv 26:6, Jn 14:27). It will only be given to those who live in righteousness (Ps 85:8-10) and those who maintain a right relationship with Him (Is 26:3; 48:22; 57:20). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6, Eph 2:14) and He will give this gift of peace to those who love Him. It is not an alleviation of temporal want or stress (Jn 14:27) but an inner peace of calmness and strength which comforts the troubled hearts and gives courage in the midst of fear (Jn 16:33, 2 Thes 3:16, Rom 5:1, Phil 4:7).
These gifts reveal the intimate union of Jesus with His Father and His true nature as the Son of God. We are called to demonstrate our love for Him through faithfulness in keeping His word. Jesus is the one who truly loves God by perfectly obeying His will. In keeping Jesus’ word, we reflect Him not only in obedience but also in our love for God.