Daily Reading for May 17 • The Sixth Sunday of Easter
“This is my commandment.” Have you then only one precept? This is sufficient, even if it is unique and so great. Nevertheless he also said, “Do not kill,” because the one who loves does not kill. He said, “Do not steal,” because the one who loves does even more—he gives. He said, “Do not lie,” for the one who loves speaks the truth, against falsehood. “I give you a new commandment.” If you have not understood what “This is my commandment” means, let the apostle be summoned as interpreter and say, “The goal of his commandment is love.” What is its binding force? It is that of which [the Lord] spoke, “Whatever you want others to do to you, you should do also.” “Love one another” in accordance with this measure, “as I have loved you.” That is not possible, for you are our Lord who loves your servants. But we who are equals, how can we love one another as you have loved us? Nevertheless, he has said it. . . . His love is that he has called us his friends. If we were to give our life for you, would our love be equal to yours? . . . How then can what he said be explained, “As I have loved you”? “Let us die for each other,” he said. As for us, we do not even want to live for one another! “If I, who am your Lord and God, die for you, how much more should you die for one another.”
From the Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron by Ephrem the Syrian, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVb, John 11-21, edited by Joel C. Elowsky (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2007).