Yesterday’s Gospel reading from John invites us to think about the love for Jesus and for one another. In our reading from John’s Gospel, Jesus tells his followers that those who love him will keep his word — follow him faithfully. That means we need not make a fake commitment but a real one.
In calling us to follow him, Jesus wasn’t necessarily calling for feelings but rather for actions. Throughout the 14th chapter of John, Jesus talks about “keeping” — keeping his commandments, keeping his word, keeping his words. “Keeping” is a verb, an action word.
In this context, Jesus’ commandments, Jesus’ word and Jesus’ words are all synonyms that refer to the totality of what Jesus says and reveals about God and about himself. If we love Jesus, we aren’t necessarily feeling a squishy emotion, but we’re working to apply his example and his teachings about God to all our daily lives. As one commentary puts it, “To love Jesus is to keep his commandments. To keep his commandments is to love Jesus.”