5th Sunday of Easter
The second part of this week's Gospel is one that may be very familiar – especially in the form of a hymn which is sung frequently (a new commandment I give unto you). What does it mean for us though in this day and age? Everyone, no doubt, has an idea what it means for us as individuals.
The Gospel opens, however, with Judas having just left the scene – having made his choice to betray Jesus and on his way to fulfil his own destiny. Next Jesus lays it on the line for the apostles – he will not be with them much longer. That must have been devastating for them – although He had been upfront with them all along – this is different and it sounds final.
Jesus follows that with a COMMAND – something they HAVE to do, something WE have to do. This is not a request – this is part of the deal of being His followers. Jesus then goes on to say HOW they, and us, are to love. In other words we are to love AS JESUS LOVES. In addition to that it is a reminder that we have to love UNCONDITIONALLY.
The next part is that we have to do it in such a way that everyone will know that we are His disciples. It is not about people liking or loving us for what we have done – it is all about putting Jesus first. Put in a couple of sentences like these it sounds so easy – but we know that is not true. We don’t have choice of who we love; we have to love everyone. The more we try to love and understand what it is to try and live a life of love the more we struggle with it. Added to that it seems that it was much simpler to love others when we were young: a) we knew fewer people,
b) our standards/ views were simpler too. As we get older we know more people, we are in contact with more and also our standards and experiences are much wider. We also realise as adults that everything is not as simple as two choices good/ bad or good/ not so good.
To make it easier we must just go back to what Jesus’ commandment is and there we will see what we have to do:
‘Love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.’
In other words if we REALLY try to live as Jesus lived, we’ll be better able to love as Jesus loves.
Sr. Margaret Mattison