Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Week 5 of Easter: Year C
Acts 11:1-18 Psalm 148 Revelation 21:1-6 John 13:31-35
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Jesus gives us a new commandment! He commands us to love one another. Why is this commandment new? Has not the commandments always commanded us to love one another? Actually, according to the Ten Commandments we are told, in list form, how to “treat” one another. While this laundry list of commandments attempts to keep us in good relationship with one another, it inculcates what God really wants of us. And that is for us to love one another.
This message comes to us as we hear of ten people killed in Buffalo, NY by a young gunman bent on what he believes is racial vengeance. This is very sad. His whole action is based on false teachings drilled into him by mentally sick people solely based on how we look different from one another.
Jesus has us to love each other as he has loved us, all of us. As I have pointed out in earlier talks, this Command differs from the Synoptic Gospels in that it does not say “love your neighbor as yourself” (Hoping, of course, that you love yourself). But rather, requires us to love our neighbor as Jesus loves us – and it must be remembered that Jesus loved us all the way to his death on the cross. This is sacrificial love, unconditional love, agape love.
In the first expressions of love the word love is used as a verb, that is an action we are to do, that is to love one another. Jesus ends with love as a noun. That is, he says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” To have love makes love a thing we have, and, we most certainly do. And it is in us to share with and relate to others with care and compassion.
And while our so-called race classifications based on looks, differentiate us in many ways, We humans are so good, unfortunately, at finding new ways to not love each other. Take for example Russia’s anger at Ukraine. Take for example Israel’s anger at Palestine. Why? Is there not enough food in the world for all to be fed. Speaking of which, our most vulnerable are going without formula. I’m talking about our babies. All of these are signs of the lack of love that we are not using, love, one for another. I believe hatred is also a form of mental illness. Let the shoe fit the foot it fits.
Our whole world needs prayer. We need to change the way we see others. We already have love for one another, God has put it inside us, but we fail to act from our God-given love. So let us listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and make that change. It may not be easy, but it’s doable.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John