Jesus said to his disciples, "I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
"If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world-- therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, `Servants are not greater than their master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, `They hated me without a cause.'
"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning." John 15:17-27
I was fortunate to have an amazing group of friends during my awkward teenage years. We lived in many different places, but when summer began, we would cluster together and spend many hours together. We played volleyball after supper until the light gave out. We played guitars and cards until we gave out. We were awkward kids against the world. It was wonderful to be loved unconditionally by people other than parents. These folks remain my friends although we have gone to different places. I will always be grateful for that time and their love.
Jesus is preparing his friends for the changing times. They had spent heady days, traveling together, being welcomed and wanted. They saw miracles, and hope restored. But as everything does, things were about to change and the world was to grow very violent. He was encouraging them to cling to one another, and to make love their mission, despite all that would come against them. We are invited, in these changing time to cling to love, and to one another, trusting that God will pave the road ahead.
Today I ask God to make my life a mission of love. May we live to love others, and in doing so give the future over to our loving Creator. May we be beacons of hope as we love, in this world of violence and despair, trusting that God is busily making all things new.