Laying down our lives for friends

Daily Reading for June 22 • Alban, First Martyr of Britain, c. 304

The unique, the highest proof of love is this, to love the person who is against us. This is why Truth himself bore the suffering of the cross and yet bestowed his love on his persecutors, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why should we wonder that his living disciples loved their enemies, when their dying master loved his? He expressed the depth of his love when he said, “No one has greater love than this, than that he lay down his life for his friends.” The Lord had come to die even for his enemies, and yet he said he would lay down his life for his friends to show us that when we are able to win over our enemies by loving them, even our persecutors are our friends.

From Forty Gospel Homiles of Gregory the Great, 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).

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