Our gospel of the day brings us together with Jesus, Who gives us His "new" commandment: "love one another." It's a familiar saying from our Lord; it also is completely characteristic of Jesus to say this.
However, why do we need to be commanded to love? Doesn't that seem to just "go without saying" - "Yes, we should love others, Jesus. I get that"? Do we really need this advice with the weight of a commandment??
I do. And here's why.
I have no problem loving my mother. She's a great woman; she has done more for me than I can ever repay. Dad too. My brothers and sisters - sure. The woman who cuts my hair - yes. I have no problem with the Christian charity that Jesus has called us to. No commandment necessary here.
However, what about people who hurt me? What about those who criticize me? How about that fellow in the green pickup truck who cut me off in traffic? Do I love them? Can I love them?
It certainly doesn't come naturally. I need supernatural love. And this is what Jesus shows us. Then, He calls us to show the same. Christian love is not easy, and it is not just an instinct. It must be intentional - for love of Jesus and for love of others. That's why it's a commandment.
Jesus knows that this love is not easy. However, it is this love that allows us to turn the other cheek; it is what allows us to reach out to the "unlovable" ; it is what allows us to forgive.
Jesus chose me, and He chooses you. It is love that follows.