A Lesson from the Holy Gospel according to St. John
Chapter 15:17ffAt that time: Jesus said unto his disciples, These things I command you, that ye love one another, And so on, and that which followeth.
|Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles|
The words of the Gospel which precede this Lesson are these sayings of the Lord: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my Name, he may give it you. And here he saith: These things I command you, that ye love one another. Putting the two passages together, we may understand what that fruit is whereof he saith : I have chosen you that ye should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. And thus we may also come to understand the added words : That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my Name, he may give it you. That is, the Father will give what we ask if we love one another. For love is itself the chief gift of him who chose us to be his own when as yet we were fruitless. It was not we that chose him, but he that chose us and ordained us, that we should go, and bring forth fruit, which same is that we love one another.
Charity, then, is the fruit which we should bring forth, like as the Apostle Paul saith : The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. And this is the charity wherewith we love our neighbour, namely, the charity wherewith we love God ; for we do not truly love on another unless we love God. For everyone that loveth God also loveth his neighbour as himself. And he that loveth not God cannot even truly love himself. For on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. Love, then, is the fruit which we should bring forth. And when the Lord would give us a commandment concerning fruit, he saith : These things I command you, that ye love one another. Hence also the Apostle Paul, what time he commandeth the fruits of the Spirit as opposed to the works of the flesh, putteth love first of all. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, saith he. And from that as the beginning he draweth out a string of other fruits, as thence begotten and thereto bound, namely : joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance, chastity.
What man is truly joyful that loveth not the cause of his joy? Who can truly live in peace, one with another, unless the one love the other? Who is cheerful and persevering under long and hard toil in good works, unless he be fervent in love? Who is kind, unless he love the object of his tenderness? Who is good, unless by the persuasion of love? Who is truly faithful, unless by the faith which worketh by love? Who is meek to any purpose, unless love move him? Who turneth away from baseness unless he love honour? Well doth the good Master so often command us to love, as though that commandment were all-sufficient, for love is that gift without which all other good things avail nothing. Yea, love cannot be in us without bringing along every other good gift which maketh a man good.
Collect:O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head cornerstone, grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee, through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.