Invitation and Command

Sometimes Jesus Christ invites us:  “Remain in my love.”  Sometimes he gives a command:  “Love one another as I love you.”  These words are from the Gospel for today’s feast, that of Saint Matthias, Apostle. Fifteen years ago today my father died. Because my father’s middle name was Matthias, the death date is easy for me to remember. My dad was a quiet man; he let my mom do the talking. I didn’t have too many conversations with him until he was in a nursing home. But as I look back to my childhood, Dad’s invitations and commands were the same. Both were gentle, quietly spoken reminders for me to be better. His typical counsel was “Be nice.” I imagine Jesus inviting his disciples on his last days on earth to do what he commands, speaking gently, lovingly, calling them “friends.” Jesus looked at Peter and John and James and the others, the ones he had chosen, and gave them this parting gift:  “Whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” And after this invitation to pray in his name, there’s the command:  “Love one another.” Command from Friend to friends is an invitation to open themselves to joy: 
“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”

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