Jesus promises to send help

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | May 17, 2017

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jesus isn’t asking us to become subservient. The fact is, if we really love someone, we will want to do what they ask; so it follows that, if we really love Jesus, we will want to keep his commandments. Jesus’ commandment to his disciples (and that includes us) is to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus tells us that he is in his Father, and we are in him, and he is in us. This means that loving our neighbor is necessary if we are to love God, since God is in our neighbor as well as in ourselves.

But what if my neighbor plays loud music until three o’clock in the morning? What do I do? Do I knock on his door, explain the problem and try to reason with him? Or do I pound on his door and threaten to call the cops if he doesn’t keep it down? After all, I need my sleep, and I have to love myself, too, right?

But what about my blood pressure?

What kind of stress am I putting on my body if I allow my anger to get out of control? Making myself sick is doing violence to myself, not loving myself.

Before my neighbor and I decide to slug it out, maybe I need to take a moment to pray to the Holy Spirit for help in managing my anger. After all, managing one’s anger doesn’t have to mean backing down (think of Jesus facing the moneychangers in the Temple). On the contrary, it can be a very positive step toward loving God above all and loving my neighbor as myself.

Life is complicated and Jesus knows that it’s not always easy for us to keep his commandments. So he promises to send help. “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always … because he remains with you and will be in you.”

That’s how much Jesus loves us. Just ask. He will be standing right there next to you when you knock on that door.

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.

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