Jesus: ‘Love One Another’

User’s Guide to Sunday, May 15

‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ prayer card, World War I, c. October 1915
‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ prayer card, World War I, c. October 1915 (photo: Museums Victoria / Unsplash)

Sunday, May 15, is the Fifth Sunday of Easter. Mass readings: Acts 14:21-27; Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13; Revelation 21:1-5a; John 13:31-33a, 34-35.

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord sets forth for us a new power: the power of love. If we tap into it and draw from its riches, we are able to live differently; there is a kind of legacy, a deposit of riches, from which we can draw.

Let’s look at today’s Gospel in three stages and discover what the Lord has done for us and has left us by way of a legacy.

 

The Provision of the Passion

The text says, “When Judas had left them, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified!’” Note how the text speaks in the present tense: The Son of Man is glorified. Something has begun and is underway. Judas’ going forth has started a process that will result in liberation for us and glorification for Jesus. This glory will make available to us a whole new life. Scripture says that Jesus’ death is new life for us: “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that … we might no longer be enslaved to sin. … We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4-7). To the degree that we will lay hold of this saving work, we will come to see and experience the power of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ to put sin to death and to bring new life forth in Christ.

 

Power, Produce of the Passion 

The text says, “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” When we hear this, we can fall into the trap of thinking, “I have to try harder. Now I, with the power of my own flesh, have to love others as Jesus did.” Jesus is not just saddling us with more responsibilities. He is equipping, empowering and enabling us to love with the same love with which he has loved us. The Lord does not just say, “Love.” Rather, he says, “Receive love, and then, love, with the love that you have received.” Scripture says, “We love, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And again, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love! If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (John 15:9). In other words, we have power to keep his commandments and to love others to the degree that we receive and abide in his love. We love with his divine love, not merely with our own human love.

 

Proof Positive of the Passion 

The text says, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The usual biblical understanding of the word “know” is richer than our modern notion of “intellectual knowing.” 

To “know” refers to experiential knowing, to knowing in a deep, personal and experiential way. 

Hence, the proof, and evidence, of God’s love is not some vague feeling or a mere intellectual attribute in us; it changes our relationships in a palpable, tangible and noticeable way. We experience its power, and so do others. 

Lay hold of this power, this love, and let it transform your life. Let it turn you into proof positive of the power of the cross to transform lives and to bestow new life. 

Let others see this and give glory to God. 

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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