In the conclusion we often come back to the fundamentals. It’s not just about writing, telling a story or delivering a speech, it’s equally true about our life. At a certain time, we should be able to clarify things for ourselves by posing questions on what we do in life. How then, does this Sunday’s Gospel, apparently strange for Easter season, bring us to the essentials?
Bible readings Acts 14: 21–27 Psalm 145: 8–13 Apocalypse 21: 1–5 John 13: 31–35
Strange Gospel for Easter
Have we run short of Gospel texts? Is it a confusion? How do we jump from accounts about the risen Jesus back to the time before his passion? No haphazard, it’s planned, deliberate and pedagogic. In fact, there’s one thing in common between the time Jesus addressed these words to his disciples and our stage in this Easter period: it’s time for departure. In the Gospel Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples before going to his passion, death, resurrection -and eventually his return to the Father. In our case, we draw close to Ascension, which is a departure too. In either case, the message of conclusion is just in order.
But what’s the conclusion?
The conclusion is the time when we come back to essentials. We see it during interviews on TV, when a programme draws to the end, the interviewer invites the interviewee to say, before leaving, the last words for the listeners. It’s a way of saying, we discussed a lot of things; how do you summarise that? What’s the take-away message for those who have been listening? That’s what we have in the Gospel.
At the end of his earthly life, and before returning to his Father, Jesus gives a résumé of what has been his life, both with the disciples and other people too. It’s like he saying to the disciples: you have heard me preach, you have seen me heal the sick or perform miracles, and you walked with me for the past three years -what meaning do I give to all that? Love. I loved you and I love all those people I met. It’s love that has been the motor of whatever I did. Surely, you can detect it from the warmth with which he addresses those old men of galilee: my little children.
In order to remember, and indeed to keep the memory of, this time we shared together, I tell you, love one another as I have loved you. It’s not just a sentimental love; we know the emblematic gesture of Jesus in this chapter -he washes the feet of his disciples, love in service. So, he’s talking about love not just as an ideal but rather something lived. Here, in a precise way, we have the kernel of what it means to be Christian; it’s to keep alive this love of Jesus in our daily interactions.
But what about my favourite…?
I don’t know your favourite devotion or the way you express your belonging to Jesus. There are several ways: for some it’s going to mass, others have special devotions to a certain saint, membership in a certain group or movement and others still are committed to a certain cause -the ways are countless. All these are important as long as they help us to keep the faith and advance in our Christian life. However, Jesus invites us to make a step further. In whatever we do, we should at a certain point be able to identify the kernel, centre, the inner motivation of our action. That is, we should be able to give a response to the question: where’s love in all these? How does my devotion or religieuse practice make visible the love of Christ?
To be consistent, I can’t conclude without revisiting the essential. Indeed, the mighty of this world have stamps, or seals, as mark of ownership, for Jesus, it’s love. That’s why he tells the disciples: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Thank you, Jesus, for this message that reminds of what is essential for a disciple.
Subscribe by giving your email address to receive new posts. You can also join the Facebook group: Your WORD is LAMP for my FEET & LIGHT on my PATH. SHARE ! And keep SHARING the posts!