Reflection on Jn 14:21

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.
And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

The condition for an interior knowledge of Jesus is to receive His commandments. But this is not enough. We also need to keep them. The keeping of Jesus’ commandments is a sign of our love for Him.

Why should we love Jesus? Because He first loved us, took our sins upon Himself, and paid for them by shedding His blood and dying on the cross. He thus obtained for us eternal happiness in heaven. The first stage of love is gratitude at the least. Even a dog can be grateful to someone who has done him good. Or even a predatory animal, as we see in the example of the lion in the life of St Gerasimos. After the saint removed a thorn from the lion’s paw and cleansed the wound, the lion helped him faithfully in return. Finally, full of gratitude to his benefactor, the lion died of grief at the saint’s grave.

No one has done us greater good than the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, if we love Jesus by keeping His commandments, it is to our own benefit already in this life. Jesus’ commandments protect us from slavish addictions and evil, and dispose our soul to pure love and to do true good to others. The fruit is peace in the soul that the world cannot give to anyone. And as for death and eternity, the gate to eternal life is open to every sincere worshipper of Jesus. By showing our love for Jesus we actually love ourselves truly, because we thus obtain the greatest good both in this life and after death. Only a very unwise person would boycott this reality to his earthly and eternal detriment.

Jesus’ commandments are not burdensome, although they require a certain self-denial. Self-denial paralyses the source of evil in us, the ego, which causes harm to us and suffering to others. Jesus’ words “Deny yourself” do not call for purposeless self-torture; on the contrary, by self-denial we gain true and eternal values. We are encouraged to deny ourselves in little things for the sake of Jesus. Love, which is a form of sacrifice, in relation to either God or neighbour, is intrinsically linked to a denial of our self-love, i.e. egoism.

Modern-day people become computer maniacs dependent on social networks, smartphones... They spend a lot of time on a horizontal level. Many relationships established in this way and much of the information obtained are not only useless and futile, but also harmful to the soul. That is why we must control our curiosity which leads us to vanity. Unfortunately, we are not curious about the true values. We do not have time to search God’s word, God’s mystery or God’s treasures which rust will not destroy and thieves will not steal.

Jesus promises that if I keep His commandments, thereby showing true love for Him, the result will be that the Heavenly Father will love me. Jesus also promises that He will then manifest Himself to me.

The world is constantly talking about love, but this word is a guise for most ruthless egoism, immorality, perversion, cynicism and tyranny. Example – child protection laws. These laws are not intended to protect children but rather to steal them from their parents, and to subject them to moral devastation and the most extreme mental and physical suffering. People talk about love but we see a dramatic increase in divorce, the killing of unborn children, lawsuits – and they say it is all for “love”. In fact, this is self-love, ruthless egoism.

Reading chapter 14, we can find other verses that point out the fruit of love for Jesus. In verse 23, Jesus promises: “My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” So he who loves Jesus and keeps His commandments – which involves sacrifice, sometimes ridicule, persecution or humiliation – will experience that this sacrifice of love for Jesus bears fruit, namely that the whole Holy Trinity dwells in the soul of such a person who thus becomes a living tabernacle and truly a Christ-bearer, Christophoros.

When Jesus said these words on the evening before His death, He encouraged the apostles, and also encourages everyone who has received and keeps His commandments, saying: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me... and I will manifest Myself to him.”

Jesus talked about the opposite as well: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words.” This also applies to every priest, bishop or even a pope. I can ask myself: Do I love Jesus? The answer is clear: If I keep His words, I love Jesus. If I do not keep them, I do not love Him. I have to repent and keep His words. This is logical.

In the following verses, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit, whom He promises us so that we may love Jesus, keep His commandments, or even sacrifice our lives for Him, following the example of thousands and hundreds of thousands of martyrs. The time we live in motivates us to do so.

Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate

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