Love is a personal choice and a gift freely given. Unselfish love is given totally for the good of the other person. We are called to love as God loves. God’s love does not waver or change. It is eternal and it is timeless. There is nothing we can do to deserve it. We cannot earn it, buy it or demand it. He gives it to us freely. Are we ready to receive his unconditional love?
This unconditional love is so attractive and desirable. If it is freely given and freely received, why is it so costly to reciprocate? To reciprocate this love for God and our neighbor we must be willing to give all of ourselves to the other. Jesus loves us so much. He willingly suffered and laid down his life for us. He did this to free us from the bondage of sin and to give us the opportunity to get to heaven.
Are we ready to give God all that we have and own? Are we ready to give Him our gifts, our time, our resources, our allegiance and our very lives? Do I love others enough to lay down my life for them?
Laying down our life for another can be literal as it was for Jesus. It can also be figurative. If I give up doing something I would like to do, to please someone I love, in a sense I am dying to myself. I can do this in small ways, by not having the last piece of chocolate to let someone else have it. Or I can do this in huge ways, when I give up my career goals to be more available to my family.
Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” When Peter responds in affirmation Jesus asks him to serve, to give himself to the mission, to nurture souls. Jesus asks this very personal and profound question to all of us, “Do you love me?” Can we say, “Yes”? And when we give him our ‘Yes’ are we willing to give what he asks of us?
This requires letting go of our fear, sin, pride, indifference, disbelief, loss of hope, loss of trust in God’s promises and his mercy. God is always faithful, even when we are not. His mercy is endless and he longs to shower us with love and to receive our love in return. He wants to bless us, but he can only do so if we freely seek his blessing and our willing to truly love him. No matter what our response, while we are still covered with the filth of our sinfulness, He still offers his love, freely and unreservedly. This alone should implore and compel us to reciprocate that love.