31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Our children are only young for a short time, before we know it, the little child we used to be able to hold in the crook of our arm, and who’s diapers we once changed becomes a raucous teenager who is determined to give us gray hair, and then a young adult getting ready to go out into the world in order to pursue higher education or a career!
Although we may sometimes wish our children could stay little forever, this does not happen, and that is a good thing, as a big part of raising our children is…raising our children: helping them to grow up and move out on their own, so that they do NOT need to have us taking care of them their whole lives (and ours); and there can be no better way to start than by teaching them the simple commandment given to us by Jesus in today’s Gospel: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another”.
It is a very simple command, but not always easy for us to follow, as we are human, and as such can be very good when it comes to holding onto our resentments. Sometimes it seems far easier for us to stay angry and to blame others for our problems than it is to forgive and to love each other in spite of our differences and faults. It can be obvious to all those around us when we are carrying a grudge, because it can be heavy and unwieldy it can sometimes make our steps falter, but still we hold onto them because they are ours…nursed and nurtured.
Our children know when we are carrying a grudge also; as single parents we are often the main role model for our children, like it or not, they look to us to see how to behave, and act accordingly. Sometimes they act out against our wishes and do the opposite from what they see us doing, as a way of showing their newly forming independence, but they learn how to act and react from watching what we do! Even our teens pay attention to what we do, although it often seems as if they are not.
As we help our children to grow up, providing guidance and helping them find a direction in their own lives, it is good to remember that the best way we can teach them is by example, just as Jesus sought to teach his disciples, and all of us to follow him by showing compassion for those in need, and love for each other. When we treat others as fellow children of God, we are treating them as if they were members of our own family…because they are: as we are all part of God’s family, and all loved by our perfect parent, regardless of our flaws and failings, and therefore we all walk in the light of God’s forgiveness!
Walking in this light we can then share the good news of God’s love for us by treating others just as we would like to have our own children treated when they are out in the world: with compassion, patience and understanding…for none of us are perfect, but the best of us do try to do the next right thing most of the time, and all of us are loved by God just as any loving parent loves their children.
Let us Pray
God, thank you that we are your well-loved children. Please help us to remember that we are all part of your family, and to treat others as we would like to have our own children treated. Let us teach our children to keep your commandment to love one another through our example of showing love and compassion for others, and by sharing Jesus’ message of love with the world.