This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. ~ John 15:12-16
That’s a portion of today’s gospel reading.
It’s all about love! That’s it! No doubt we have complicated it as much as possible, but boiled down to simplest terms, we discover that our journey in Jesus is about love. Those who were the followers of Jesus loved him. Take Mathias and Justus. They loved Christ and both wanted to step forward to work of his cause after Judas died by suicide. We read in the Acts of the Apostles, The disciples had to pray and discern who would be the replacement for Judas Iscariot. Both Justus and Mathias were considered. The Disciples landed on Mathaias. Today we celebrate his feast day.
I wonder what it must’ve been like to be the person chosen to fill the spot left open by Judas Iscariot. You are taking over from someone with a notorious reputation. Nowhere to go but up right? Surely Judas did not love Jesus? If he had loved him he would not of betrayed him, right? Perhaps it’s more complex than that. Perhaps it’s possible that even when we love another, we can get it wrong. Perhaps we all capable of betrayal. I think we often betray one another’s trust, confidence, and one another’s feelings. Matthies found himself taking the place of one of the betrayers Jesus brought into his inner circle – but not the only one. Where were they all at the crucifixion? What happened to Peter when asked about his association with Jesus? In fact I too have betrayed Jesus from time to time. You get the point….
So perhaps we all need to refocus. It’s appropriate that the gospel is a reminder that’s it’s all about love. It is focused not on the betrayal of Judas, but the love that God has for us and that we ought to have for one another. God has chosen us ~ you and me! Even though we are capable of being the betrayer. God has chosen us! It’s because we are loved. We are beloved. We are God’s own. As was Judas, as was Matthias.
May we be forgiven for our betrayals and my we forgive those who have betrayed us. And in forgiving may we love. As those God has chosen, may our loving, bear fruits of justice and peace.