My Dear Parishioners
There are two famous speeches given by Jesus that many people are familiar with: The Sermon on the Mount and the Last Supper Discourse. The words that we have heard today are from the latter, as recounted in John’s Gospel. Jesus knows that his impending death on the cross will be a crisis for his disciples. He says many consoling things to them in this speech so that their hope in his promises will not waver. But he also challenges them with a new commandment. The command itself is not new. In the Book of Leviticus, God tells the people of Israel, You shall love your neighbor as yourself (19:18). What is new in this command of Jesus is that he, himself, is the measure of this love for one’s neighbor. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about being glorified, but not in the usual way of pomp and circumstance. He will be glorified in the love that his followers share with others.
We see how this worked, as we heard today from the Acts of the Apostles. Paul returns to Lystra to encourage the Christians there. When he talks about enduring hardship for the sake of God’s Kingdom, he is speaking from his own experience. Remember, that on a previous visit, Paul had been stoned there and left for dead because of his preaching. Yet, he loves the members of the Church so much, that he comes back to them for a visit, to help continue to build up their faith. Jesus is
glorified by this kind of love.
So many people have glorified Jesus by being heroic in their love for others. We think of the early women and men missionaries, compelled by their love of God, to share the gospel message with the world. We see the prophecy, Behold I make all things new, being fulfilled in our midst today.
As we sing our Easter Alleluias, we, too, are called, anew, to follow the commandments Jesus gave us. We can expect that God will do great things through us, who are willing to follow the example of love Jesus showed us. Just imagine what newness will come into our homes, our neighborhoods, our ordinary, everyday lives as we strive to love with the generous, self-giving kind of love Jesus modeled for us. The effect of our actions is sure to go a long way in helping others come to know Jesus and open their hearts to the gospel message.
God Bless, Msgr. Maresca