"I will love him and reveal myself to him"

Have you ever met someone who knew a lot of bible quotes or passages from the catechism, but seemed to lack a real grasp of the greater truth to which they point?

The Christian faith is more than a collection of doctrines or propositions; it is a way of life. It has to be actively lived in order to be fully understood. This is what the Lord is getting at in today's Gospel reading when he tells the apostles that it is in loving him and keeping his commandments that he will be fully revealed:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (John 14:21)
It isn't enough to know things about Jesus.

Our darkened intellects all too easily find ways to twist those bible quotes and doctrines into rationalizations of our favorite ideas...in the extreme, people use them to support even the most heinous evils.

We are in need of something more, namely Grace.

This is what Jesus is getting at when he talks about love in this passage. Of course, both he and the Father love all of humanity all the time. Yet the effects of that love are only potential; if we are not actively engaged in a relationship with Him, we are not able to receive the benefit of that love.

A good analogy would be an electrical circuit: the battery may have enormous electrical potential, but until the wires are connected the current can't flow. We are loved by God completely and continuously, but until we 'complete the circuit' by participating in that love we are unable to receive the effects.

How do we complete the circuit? By observing the commandments.

Note, though, that by this Jesus is not referring to any extensive list of rules and regulations. Later in this same conversation, he will summarize those commandments to his apostles:
"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:12-14)
We must measure all our actions and ideals against this commandment and modify our lives accordingly. Our personal relationships, our political views, our daily routine: if they don't reflect authentic, self-sacrificing love then we are closing ourselves off from the source of grace that allows us to truly see and understand Jesus and his Kingdom.

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