Commentary on the Gospel of
In his commentary on Galatians 6:10, St. Jerome tells a famous story about the Apostle John. After the death of the emperor who had banished him to the Isle of Patmos, John returned to Ephesus where he lived to a very old age. No longer able to walk, he was carried into the congregation in the arms of his disciples. He had gotten to where he couldn't speak for any length of time but they always asked him to say something. His homily was the same every time: "Little children, love one another." At last, wearied that he always spoke the same words, they asked: "Master, why do you always say this?" "Because," he replied, "it is the Lord's command, and if this only is done, it is enough."
The following is from St. Augustine's famous sermon on love where he reflects upon the Apostle John's words:
“This is how the love of God is shown among us.” The reason why the writer exhorts us, is so that we may come to love God. Could we love him, unless he first loved us? Though we were slow to love, let us not be slow to love in return. He loved us first. We do not even love in the same way as he. He loved the unrighteous, but he took away the unrighteousness. He loved the sick, but he visited them to make them whole. Love, then, is God. “This is how the love of God is shown among us: God sent his only Son into the world, that we may live through him.” As the Lord himself said: “No one can have greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” [John 25:13] This proved Christ’s love for us, the fact that he died for us. How is the Father’s love for us proved? By the fact that he sent his only Son to die for us. As the apostle Paul says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not freely give us all things?” [Rom. 8:32]
To comprehend the love of which the apostle and the saint speak is to understand what St. Augustine, in this same homily, meant by "love, and do what you will." To love God and our neighbor is to will what is best for them. It is to sacrifice for them. It is to even take abuse, if necessary, for them or even from them.
If we love, it is enough. Love, and do what you will. It sounds so simple but may the Lord, during this season of Epiphany, pour the light of wisdom and discernment into our minds and hearts so that we learn how to do it. Amen.