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Friends, today’s Gospel instructs us in the way of loving others with God’s love. We find joy in God alone, for our souls have been wired for God. But here’s the trick, and the whole of the Christian life is on display here: God is love. . . . Love is God. God is self-emptying on behalf of the other. But this means, paradoxically, that to have God is to be what God is—and that means giving one’s life away.

Now we see the link between joy and commandments: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” And now we begin to understand the laws, commands, and demands of the Church. All are designed to make us more adept at giving ourselves away. Don’t steal; don’t kill; don’t covet your neighbor’s goods or wife; honor your mother and father; worship God. All of these commands—positive and negative—are meant to awaken and make possible love.

Notice, please, that we are to love with a properly divine love: “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” Radical, radical, radical. Complete, excessive, over-the-top.