Jesus tells us the most important commandments. [To see the words of the gospel, click here.] The first one, Love God, how? With full heart, full mind, full strength. The Jewish people had the same idea. They agree that this is the first commandment. For the second commandment you have to look around in the Bible to find it: “Love other people the same as you love yourself.” Jesus is the first person to join those two commandments to become the one most important commandment. Loving other people is like loving God. Loving God you show, how? When you love other people. And love, where do we find the best example of love? Look up on the cross; see Jesus on the cross.
We have a cross in our homes; we see the cross in church. We are so used to seeing the cross, we forget. Wow! That was really tough love from Jesus on the cross. Look, study the cross. See the body of Jesus on the cross. See the thorns on his head; see the blood flowing down; see all the cuts on his body from the whip. Imagine the nails banging into his hands and his feet. See! Know Jesus suffered all of that, why? Love for you, love for me. Why? To make sure now all of us can unite with God fully. Your life, my life can change; we can be more like Jesus. Jesus said, “The real proof of love is when a person is willing to give his life for another person.” That is the deepest meaning of love. See that same love happening in Jesus. See it most clearly on the cross. Look up at a cross; see all that suffering. That is what love means.
Sometimes people think about themselves, “I am not really good enough to love, not good enough for other people to love me.” That is wrong. Look up on the cross; see that Jesus suffered all that on the cross for you. It means what? You are very special; you are very precious for Christ. Don’t forget that.
When I know Jesus loves me so much, then I can share that love with others. I must. Jesus commands us; he says, “Love one another, the same as I love you.” Jesus wants us to copy His love, how? See another person, as a valuable person, a special person, a good person. Think how to help that person have a good life. That means you are showing love for that person. Build up the person. Pay attention to the person.
Then look up on the cross; there we see the meaning of real love. We understand sometimes love is hard. Sometimes love demands a whole lot. Love sometimes means suffering. That is right; love often means suffering. I really want to do good for other people; sometimes that is difficult.
You mothers and fathers, you know caring for your children, loving your children is not always easy. You husbands, wives, friends, you know loving a husband, a wife, another human person, is not always easy. That human person is not perfect, makes mistakes, hurts you sometimes. Love demands a lot. The “I” “me” “I” “I” “I” has to be set aside. Think about the other person first. That is the meaning of love. To love is easy? Not really; it can be very difficult.
Look at the cross; it explains clearly what love means: Jesus loves me. I am worthwhile so now I can love other people. He wants me to love other people and copy Jesus’s love. And Jesus on the cross shows me love. Sometimes love means that I am going to have to suffer.
Let me end with a story. There was a young boy. He had a sister with blood cancer, leukemia; she needed a blood transfusion. The doctors wanted to find a person with the same kind of blood so that they could give it to the girl to save her life. They asked her brother, “Would you mind if we test your blood to see if your blood matches your sister’s blood.” He said he was willing for them to test his blood. So they took a little bit of his blood. And his blood was a good match for his sister’s blood. Then his parents asked him if he would be willing to give his blood to help his sister. The boy asked for some time to think about it. The next day the boy said yes they could take his blood and give it to his sister. They went to the hospital, and the boy was lying on the bed next to his sister. They began taking his blood. The doctor came by and asked how the boy was doing. The boy said, “How soon am I going to start dying? When do I begin to die?” The boy thought that giving blood means he would have to die.
Wow! That is love–to give life to another person, to imitate the love of Jesus.