Gospel Reflection for Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C – April 24th 2016
When Judas had gone Jesus said:
‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.
My little children, I shall not be with you much longer.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another;
just as I have loved you,
you also must love one another.
By this love you have for one another,
everyone will know that you are my disciples.’
How do we know if we are true followers of Jesus? Is it a long time at prayer, obeying a lot of rules, fasting and alms giving? Sometimes, but the real test is in the few lines of today’s gospel, about loving one another. Love is the mark of a disciple; love that reaches out in compassion, care, listening, service. Love that influences how I treat the people I meet every day, how I think of other groups like Travellers, gypsies, refugees, asylum-seekers, and any other group of people whose differences causes prejudice. Love is the atmosphere we live in as followers of the Lord.
MEANS TO LOVE
From that flows the way the Christian community lives and worships. Prayer is a means to love, but not an end in itself. Christian ethics and morality is to be founded in love, and service is to offer help to others in the example of Jesus himself.
One way of growing in love is to be grateful for love in our lives. A prayer each night can be to think back over the day and thank God for love we received in the day, in small and big ways. We can thank God also for love we have been able to offer ourselves to others.
The love within us is God’s gift to us. This is the glory of God living inside every man, woman and child of us. Good words from Pope Francis: ‘“The first criterion: to love with deeds, not words. Words are taken away by the wind! The second criterion of concreteness is: in love it is more important to give than to receive. The one who loves, gives to God and to others’ (Jan 9, 2014).
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger