"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" proclaimed Paul and Barnabas in today’s first reading because of Christ’s commandment to us in the gospel reading today saying "love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

My dear brothers and sisters, today’s first reading from Acts of the Apostles and the gospel reading from the gospel of Saint John re-emphasizes to us, the reason for our call to be the disciples of Christ. Discipleship is explained here as the need to love all just like Christ has loved and to undergo and endure hardships because of that love. So, do you love others like God loves you? We often come up with very good and plausible reasons why we lack love for others in our lives, but how often do we pay attention to God’s love for us and in our lives today? How often do we offend and reject God in our thoughts, words and actions, yet He still blesses us with His mercies, graces and blessings? How often have paid attention to need to undergo and endure hardships from others because of God’s love for us? Do we even know that love is centered on sacrifice and dedication? Do we even remember Christ’s word to us in that gospel reading that through our love for others, all will know that we are His disciples?

Love my dear friends is the center of our lives as Christians and children of God, because we were made in God’s love, we were saved and redeemed by His love for us and we are continually strengthened with this same love to attain the kingdom of heaven after our lives here on earth. So let us strive daily to live out the love of God as commanded us by Jesus our Lord and never forget that by loving others like God has loved us, all will know that we are true disciples of Christ. Amen!