Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jn 13:31-35 A New Commandment

Fifth Sunday of Easter
When Judas had left them, Jesus said …“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 find it remarkable how today’s Gospel passage fits in perfectly with some commentaries that have been going on within this blog.  Someone (I assume an atheist) recently asked, Can we really know what it means to be a “good” Christian?  They go on to say that it’s impossible to know. 
But it seems as though Divine Providence, through today's Gospel passage, may have given His answer:  “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
Jesus knows.  He set the standard.  Actually, He is the standard: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
I give you a new commandment:  Love one another.    Before this morning's Mass, I noticed some of the front pews were reserved.  During Mass I noticed who was sitting in them:  Moms with their sons.  Later I found out that the school had organized a “Mother-Son brunch” for today.  Well, at the start of my homily, I told the boys (ages 10-11) to give their moms a big hug.  I then added:  “Throw in a kiss as well.”  This occasion offered me a perfect start to my homily. 
Can love be commanded?  Yes, but only if the one commanding it loves first.  Before we knew how to love, God loved us first (cf. 1Jn 4:19).
Now let’s put Christ’s famous words in their proper context.  The Lord is about to be betrayed.  In fact, Judas had just left them.  He knows He is about to experience the worst forty-eight hours of His life.  How does He react?  What does He do?  He gives His Apostles a new commandment:  love one another. 

Instead of reacting with scorn and indignation, the Lord reacts with confidence and sublimity.  Instead of acting out, He gathers His little flock.  Instead of being filled with anger, resentment, bitterness and hatred, He is filled with compassion and love.  Instead of allowing His emotions to get the best of Him, the Lord gives a new commandment:  love one another.
Now is the Son of Man glorified.  Christ is the Incarnation of the word love.  The WORD (love) became flesh in Jesus Christ and His response to evil is the manifestation of His glory.  Yes, Christ reaches His pinnacle when his Love encounters great evil; that is, when Great Love responds to great evil.  This is the moment when God can truly be God and when Heaven can come down to earth:  “I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…I heard a voice saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.’” (Rev. 21:1-5a).
Do you understand this?   How do you react in times of trial?  With love?  What are your first thoughts when facing evil?  Are they of love and not revenge? 
As the Church began to grow, so did persecution.  As hundreds were being added to the fold, thousands more were working to destroy it.  Hence, it became more and more necessary for the leaders of the Church to spell things out:  “After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.  They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:21-22).   
It’s so easy to buy into Big Brother’s notion that we should not talk about religion in public.  This is the new (modern) and improved way to persecute and stifle the mission of the Church.  We should never give in.  Until Big Brother can control our hearts, our minds and our tongues, we should continue to do everything possible to communicate the Good News to our brothers and sisters!  In fact, we may actually prevent this from ever happening!  We can change the world, for better.
We all have to be careful to not fall into the temptation of remaining silent.  Recently, I went to two parties in which I was bombarded by questions.  I was more than happy to answer everyone's questions.  But at both parties, some people were actually trying to tell others to stop asking me questions, to leave me alone, to let me relax and enjoy the party.  No!  No!  No!  I was more than happy to be asked and more than happy to answer.  This is what we should all be doing! 

Allow people to ask you questions so that you can give them Christ’s answers!  Invite dialogue. Invite questions. Invite people to Church.
When was the last time you invited someone to Church?  When was the last time you told someone you would pray for them?  I know this isn't easy to do.  It doesn't make us feel any better, but it will make them better:  “The disciples reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
It’s so easy to do the opposite of “love one another.”  In fact, it’s very easy to reject someone, to cast them aside and to throw them out of your life!  “Get out of my life.”  “I don’t want to see you."  "I don't want anything to do with you.”  “Leave me alone.”
I’ve been reflecting more and more on the Boston Massacre, and how the oldest terrorist brother became radicalized.  I mentioned before how he was thrown out of his mosque when he publicly denounced the Imam for mentioning Martin Luther King, Jr.  At first, I thought it was a good thing.  But now I wonder.  I know it was the easiest thing to do, and even the safest thing to do (especially if some Muslims are trying to create a better image for themselves in the United States).  But was it the best thing to do?  I don’t think so. 
As Christians, we can never dismiss those who need us the most?  Are not the “hardened” of people the people we must reach out to the most?  Pope Francis recently wrote:  “If your heart is made of stone, then these stones will appear in your hand and be thrown at someone.” 
When Judas had left them.  The Lord never threw Judas out.  He never asked him to leave.  It was Judas who left the Lord.  What I find remarkable about Jesus, and this particular account, is that the Lord never tried stopping him.  He wasn’t begging Judas to stay.  Instead, He treated him like any other, an equal: free to choose, independent and capable of making his own decisions.  The Lord didn’t try to cuddle him or turn him into “the disciple most loved.”  On the contrary, He treated him like the rest.  Love is free and Judas was his own man.  His actions would be his own and solely owned by him.
Love teaches great lessons and the Lord taught His disciples one great lesson:  You can leave me, betray me, insult me, humiliate me, beat me, crucify me and kill me, but you will never change me.   
In these times of trial, tribulation and terrorism, I think the Lord is teaching America a valuable lesson:  You can hate us, but you will never change us.
Difficult times offer us the best opportunity to give and live a new commandment. 

Love one another, and see the glory of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.