Homily for the fifth Easter Sunday - Year C - Jn. 13:31-35
Father Daniel Meynen
"When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, «Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.'
"«A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.»"
"When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, «Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.»"
After having instituted the sacrament of his Body and his Blood, Jesus spoke for a long time to his disciples, giving them several recommendations. The first is that which is related in today's gospel. Jesus recommends brotherly love to his disciples so that the world may recognize that they are truly believers in Christ, the messenger of God. But Jesus wants to specify the context in which this brotherly love is found, which is the glorification of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Father!
What is glorification? It is the public and manifest recognition of the - supposedly true - value of a person. "If God is glorified in him...": when did the Son glorify his Father in him, if not when he voluntarily offered himself to be killed on the Cross of Calvary? Truly, it was on the Cross that the Son glorified the Father! On the Cross, the Son said, in the name of all humanity: My Father is worthy of what I suffer, my Father is truly worthy of much more than all this... Yes! All the sins of the world will never tarnish his glory: this sacrifice offered once and for all (cf. He. 9:26) will render him glory for eternity!
"«...if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.»"
Jesus glorified his Father on the Cross of Calvary! But then, three days later, the Father glorified his Son in him: the Father made of him a new man, with a glorious body! The Father who created all things in the beginning is also he who re-creates in the glory of the resurrection. Now, all that the Father creates, he does so in him: it is in his spirit that he conceives, in him, what he creates. So, by resurrecting Jesus, the Father glorified him in himself, he gave him an eternal glory by conceiving in his spirit, and actually giving him, a glorious body, similar to the one that was crucified on the Cross, but how much more magnificent and endowed of incomparable qualities! "Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father..." (Rm. 6:4)
"«A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.»"
It is in this context that is found the commandment of Jesus, his commandment, a new commandment. It is in the context of the Passion and the Resurrection that Jesus teaches his disciples. Also, the words of Jesus have their full meaning: "even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." All is in the comparison: "even as..." This means, for the disciples of Jesus, that they must love each other as Jesus loved his disciples, that is to say even unto death on the Cross of Calvary! If Jesus loved us all unto death, we too must love our brothers unto death with Jesus! "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." (Rm. 6:4)
"«By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.»"
Jesus prayed to his Father, a short time before going to the Garden of Gethsemane: "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me." (Jn. 17:21-23) If the disciples love each other as Christ loved them, then they will all be one amongst themselves and one with Christ, and the world will recognize them as the disciples of Christ, because the world won't see the disciples themselves, but rather Christ himself in them!
Today, let us be fervent disciples of Christ! Let us receive him with faith, with love, with a great hope for eternal life! Jesus is the incarnated Son of God, and the Eucharist is his sacrament. Let us ask Mary that we may receive with dignity this very great sacrament, the sacrament of love par excellence!