Fifth Sunday of Easter , May 2, 2010 Gospel

 I am posting this coming Sunday's reflection early this week as I may not have time later on in the week.

 Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35
Gospel Reading Extract
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment : love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

“I give you a new commandment: Love one another” 
The words are so  familiar.  Here we are centuries after Christ spoke them the night before he died and they have lost nothing of their power.

It was not a suggestion but a COMMANDMENT  adding to the ten that came down the mountain with Moses ... elevating it to "the Word of God."

This didn't sit well with those who considered themselves the champions of orthodoxy … the leaders of the religious institutions of his day. They were invested in maintaining the status quo. There was no room for new commandments from an itinerant rabble rousing preacher from Nazareth .....

"A New Commandment?" Who did this revisionist think he was? It was blasphemy! Apostasy! Heresy! And so the gloom darkened, the troops gathered – and the cross loomed.

And yet, "having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."............He  Loved them enough to tell them the truth – no matter what the cost............ 

Loved them enough to share all of who He was with them – and command them to do the same to each other.

 "As I have loved you so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Not "if you follow all the codes."
Not "if you get Grade A on the theology quiz."
Not "if you agree with each other about everything." 

The type of love Jesus is speaking of is intense and nor is it to be found on a Hallmark card anywhere.
"The New Commandment – the Eleventh Commandment – is just  the hardest one of all.

Ron Rolheiser spells out just how hard  here 

Jesus’ great commandment is absolutely crystal clear in its intention and meaning.

We know it’s clear because Jesus says, not just that we are to love one another – that would be capable of all sorts of selfish interpretations – but that we are to “Love one another as – in the same way as – I have loved you” and he was on the way to the cross as he said it.

A few short hours later, he laid down his life for his friends. 

Not much room for misinterpretation there – His love was for the benefits of all of us.

What Jesus is commanding his disciples to do is to love one another sacrificially – until it hurts – even when it hurts – especially when it hurts..........................................................

This is a  love that will turn us upside down.

Tall order, so very very  hard to do.................surely there are some people who we just can't love, especially when we have been hurt and wronged.

But we have  the enabling grace of the Holy Spirit to help us in what we have been called to do.

So we wait for the breath and refining fire of Pentecost to renew our weary spirit.

Love is a word so familiar but the Love of God defies all my explanations ... definitions ... all my understanding.

God  send us out into the world to live our lives as His people offering His love that casts out fear to a world in such desperate need of it.
We've been given a New Commandment. The only way I have any chance of achieving this is to stay as close to the source of that Love as I possibly can and stay in relationship with Christ. It's all about relationship.

So let us rejoice and be glad in it even if we struggle and often fail so badly at doing it .

Here is the Scripture and many helpful reflections for all this Sunday's readings


Fran said...

I just read two other things that I think prepared me for your post...

One was this poem. The other was this post.

I am once again rendered into silence at what you have said. How I thank God, how I thank you.

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi Fran,
Sorry for the delay in replying to your comments. I am going away next week and have been really busy today.

I also visit the two blogs you mention and like them very much for their originality and humour.They are always stimulating and the second one "Leave it Lay where Jesus Flang it" often blows me away by its raw honesty.
Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging comments too on this post.
Your support and opinion is highly valued always!!