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May 2001

If someone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23)

Jesus is speaking to the apostles during his great and heartfelt farewell discourses and he assures them, amongst other things, that they will see him again, because he will manifest himself to those who love him.

Judas, not Judas Iscariot, then asks him why he would manifest himself only to them and not to everyone. The disciple was hoping for a great external manifestation of Jesus that would have changed the course of history and, in his view, would have been more useful to the salvation of the world. In fact the apostles all thought that Jesus was the long-awaited prophet who was to come at the end of time, and who, in his coming, was to reveal himself before all as the King of Israel, putting himself at the head of the people of God and definitively establishing the kingdom of the Lord.

Instead, Jesus answer is that his manifestation would not come in a spectacular and external way. It would be a simple and extraordinary 'Coming' of the Trinity into the heart of the believer, that occurs where there is faith and love.

With this answer Jesus states clearly the way he will continue to be present in the midst of his own after his death and he explains how it will be possible to have contact with him.

If someone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.

Hence he can already be present in Christians and in the midst of the community. It is not necessary to await the future. The temple that contains him is not so much the one made of walls but the heart of each Christian, which becomes the new tabernacle, the living dwelling place of the Trinity.

If someone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.

But how can a Christian achieve this? How can we carry God within ourselves? What is the way to enter this deep communion with him?

It is love for Jesus. It is a love that is not mere sentimentality, but is translated into concrete life and, specifically, into keeping his Word.

If a Christian loves in this way, seen through actions, then God responds with his love and the Trinity comes to dwell within him or her.

If someone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.

"... keeps my word".

What are the words the Christian is called to keep?

In John's Gospel, "my words" often mean the same as "my commandments". So the Christian is called to keep Jesus' commandments. These must not be understood however as a list of laws. Rather they should be seen as summed up in what Jesus showed through the washing of the feet, that is the commandment of mutual love. God commands each Christian to love the others to the point of giving him or herself completely, as Jesus taught and did.

If someone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.

So how can we live this Word of Life well? How can we reach the point in which the Father himself will love us and the Trinity will come and dwell in us? By putting mutual love into practice with all our heart, in a radical way and with perseverance.

It is principally here that Christians find the way to live out the Christian asceticism that the Crucified Christ requires of them. In fact it is in mutual love that many virtues blossom in our hearts, and it is in mutual love that each one of us can answer the call to sanctification.

Chiara Lubich

 

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