May 11, 2023
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Readings for Today
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” John 15:10
When Jesus spoke the line above, He followed it by saying, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” These two lines, taken side by side, provide a helpful unity of Jesus’ teaching regarding holy obedience to Him.
First, Jesus speaks of the necessity of keeping His commandments. To some, such a statement, when taken by itself, can seem burdensome, dictatorial, oppressive and confining. But is it? The answer is found clearly as we read on.
The next thing Jesus teaches is that the effect of keeping His commandments is that we “remain in His love.” He further explains that He is not asking us to do anything that He Himself was not willing to do. He was obedient to the will of the Father, keeping the commandments of the Father to perfection. Therefore, we should hear His command as a dictate flowing from His own freely lived choice to be obedient. As the Incarnate Son of God, He perfectly obeyed the Father in His human nature. The result was that He remained perfectly filled with the love of the Father. But that’s not all. Joy is also experienced in a “complete” way when we imitate Jesus’ perfect obedience.
In light of the teaching from our Lord, how do you view holy obedience to the will of God? Take, for example, each of the Ten Commandments. Do you struggle with unwavering obedience to them? Do you experience them as oppressive and imposed limitations rather than what they truly are? When understood correctly, the Ten Commandments, and every other dictate of the will of God, are exactly what we need and, even more so, exactly what we deeply desire in life. We want interior order rather than chaos. We want integrity rather than fragility. We want joy rather than sadness. And we want unity with the love of God rather than the loss of God. The path to the life we so deeply desire is obedience to the commands of the will of God in all things.
Reflect, today, upon your immediate interior reaction to holy obedience. If you do find yourself resistant in any way to this teaching of Jesus, then that is a good sign that you need this teaching more than you may know. Try to look at obedience in the light of truth. Try to see that, deep down, your soul yearns for obedience and the interior order it brings. Examine, especially, any areas of obedience you struggle with and firmly recommit yourself to unwavering obedience to each and every command of our Lord.
My obedient Lord, You obeyed the will of Your Father in Heaven to perfection. Through this obedience, You not only experienced the full love and joy of the Father in Your human nature, You also set for us a perfect example and model for holiness. Help me to see the areas of my life in which I need to be more obedient, so that I, too, will share in Your holy life and that of the Father’s. Jesus, I trust in You.
Featured images above: I Come to Fulfill the Law on flickr