“Go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”

John 15:16

Friday, 14 May 2021

John 15:9-17

Love must be fruitful. It must go beyond itself, beyond those ‘in love’.

I cannot help but think of the historically evolving Christian understanding of the purpose of marriage. Originally the purpose of marriage was for the procreation of children – and to control sinful lusts. And, yes, love was OK too. As time moved on, the view embraced both procreation and loving companionship. (Hopefully, the latter managed or at least channelled the lust dimension!). Today the emphasis in the popular imagination is on love. Depending on your religious tradition, procreation is anything from an option to still something you should do. This is made all the more complicated by changing social ideas of who can get married.

Before I get into stormy theological seas, let me suggest that love – whether married or otherwise – should be fruitful. By this I mean that any kind of love – friendship, service, self-sacrifice, passion, married love, to name a few – must move beyond the confines of whatever loving relationship we are talking about. Love must expand outwards like the ripples on a lake – or even perhaps a shockwave.

Friendships should never be closed in but welcoming of others. Deep love between people should inspire others to see how they can love, encouraging them to build up healthy and reconciling relationships. Service and self-sacrifice, to be true love, needs not only to reach outward but reach out, inspire and include others in the process. The witness of service or sacrifice should encourage others to similar actions.

How do I love? How does my loving contribute to a society of love? 

Lord Jesus,

Fill my heart with your love.

Motivate me to share that love with others.

Give me the courage to love others as you have loved me.


Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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