Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C.

Jn 13: 31 – 35

Lord, you are divine energy and living irresistible might;
Since of the two of us it is you who are infinitely the stronger,
it is you who must set me ablaze and transmute me in fire that we may be welded together and made one.

Chapter 13 of John’s Gospel begins with Jesus giving us a graphic lesson on the meaning of service as he washes the feet of his disciples. This is followed by his pain filled prediction, “one of you will betray me.” The atmosphere in the upper-room must have been filled with many emotions.  This is the moment Jesus chooses to give us his Last Will and Testament.

Time now for the reading of his will; gather round

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Last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ

31When Judas had gone from the upper room,

Jesus said: “Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.  32If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

33My children, I shall not be with you much longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.

34I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you must love one another. 35By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

* * * * *

“My children” he addresses us:

“Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.  32If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

Throughout Jesus’ life he never compromised his mission. He remained true to his belief in our loving God – he lived this truth and preached it. He identified with the poor, broken, oppressed and marginalised. Again and again this brought him into conflict with the authorities and still he challenged their false, legalistic view of God. His views had brought him into conflict with the authorities and with some of the Twelve. Perhaps he even suspected what Judas was up to.  Filled with fear of what might lie ahead of him he tells Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly”, and Judas left.  Jesus had made his final commitment to the Mission given him by the Father – “God has been glorified in him.”

* * * * *

34I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you must love one another.  35By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

“Commandment”

Commandment is often interpreted in an almost military sense; do this or else. We should rather see it as sound advice which will guide us towards living a full and rewarding life.  This is a pointer indicating the means to sound living and sound relationships. Far from seeing this as a burden imposed from above we should respond to this advice by joyfully committing ourselves to living by the norms God offers us.

34I give you a new commandment: love one another.” This is not a new commandment. You can find it in Lev 19: 18 and in Lk 10: 27. What is however, new, is the measure of our love; “as I have loved you, you must love one another”. Three times we are encouraged to love one another. Jesus really sets a high standard for us to follow, but then he wants only the best for us. His own mission statement is a wonderful guide for us:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring glad tidings to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Lk 4: 18 – 19

Jesus’ society is founded on love. This must be a first. His society is opposed to the world view so many of us have; a world of competition, winner takes all, power over others.

Come, let us make this our motto.

35By this love you have for one another,

everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

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