St John Chrysostom wrote of the passage that forms part of our Gospel reading for today, ‘This is the commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’: ‘Do you see that the love of God is intertwined with our own, and connected like a sort of chain? Wherefore it sometimes says that there are two commandments, sometimes only one. For it is not possible that the man who has taken hold on the first should not possess the second also. … If to abide proceeds from love, and love from the keeping of the commandments, and the commandment is that we love one another, then the abiding in God proceeds from love towards each other. And He does not simply speak of love, but declares also the manner, “As I have loved you”. Again He shows, that His very departure was not of hatred but of love. … Yet nowhere does He say this in these words, but in a former place, by sketching the best shepherd, and here by exhorting them, and by showing the greatness of His love, and Himself, who He is. But wherefore does He everywhere exalt love? Because this is the mark of the disciples, this the bond of love’.
The chain of which the great Chrysostom speaks is not a chain of imprisonment, but rather that of connection, that which forms a bond, which liberates rather than constrains. May we truly know this bond of love with all those who share our lives, and may God bless you this day.