LOVE: a Sign of Christian Discipleship
WWJD = LOVE; GOD IS LOVE
When we read the earlier passage of the gospel of John, prior to this Sunday reading [Jn 13], Jesus expresses his love in two ways:
- Washing of the feet. This is a symbol of BAPTISM
- Giving them a morsel to each. This is a symbol of EUCHARIST.
Easter is a symbol of Baptism and Eucharist; both a sign and way of God’s love.
However the disciples of Jesus did not understand this. Thus we have Peter who will deny, Judas who will betray and the others will just leave Jesus. And yet we find Jesus who commits to them his unconditional love.
Prior to Jn 13, Jesus gives Judas the morsel to eat and tells him to hurry in what he is supposed to do. Judas leaves and it is night.
Today’s passage: Judas goes out in the night; to betray; and here is Jesus who cries out in triumph:
- God will be glorifies and
- To draw all people to God has come very soon.
It is in this situation that Jesus turns to his disciples; one who will betray, deny and others who will run away and says: “My Little children..”:
- I shall not be longer with you [his passion and death are approaching near]
- So I give you a new commandment = Love.
To make Jesus known to the world is to match to his love. Thus Jesus says: “As I love you, You love each other.
Unconditional love is :
CARE [washing of the feet and Morsel] + SELF GIFT [to go the cross and lay downs one’s life].
This command to Love: will be a sign of discipleship. A sign and commandment to Love. A new way of being. This command is our symbol and only message that we have to do all our life.
Love not what the world thinks, do and believe in. Christianity exists where God rules and His rule is LOVE. Love to lay down one’s life, because you care.
In the 3rd century Tertullian said the Romans referred to early Christians and would often say: “See how they love each other.” This is our great power, this is our great privilege.
Once Cardinal Hume, told the following story about a Nazi concentration camp during the World War II
- The line leading to the gas chamber was long. The faces of the people waiting to enter reflected a welter of emotions. Some of them shocked, anger on their faces, sense of disbelief, fear, crying to mention a few.
- A little girl was standing in that line, holding a doll in her hand. She was crying.
- One of the guard saw her, and some forgotten corner of his heart came to life. But what could he do? He was only one man against a 1000 armed machine guns and soldiers watching him. He did the only thing he could do.
- He joined her in the line, and, holding her hand, walked with her into the gas chamber to die together.
This is what Christ did for us on the Cross. He laid down his life. This is the way Jesus loves us. And this is the way we area called to love each other. Love is a Christian name tag.
This is a commandment!!! Not a request or suggestion given to us by Jesus. We have to fulfill it.
In The Eucharist Jesus shows the way and how it can be done. Eucharist a place of Pure Love of care and self-gift. We continue to receive the same daily… to strengthen us and to go out to love as Jesus loves and thus fulfil this command of Jesus: to love our sisters and brothers as Jesus loves us.
Fr. Franco Pereira, S.D.B.