In anticipation of the Lord’s Ascension, we read part of Jesus’ last conversations with his disciples. The context is the Last Supper. Judas has just left to betray him. Jesus knows full well that his hour has come. He speaks about his glorification, which for John refers to his Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father. Jesus has glorified the Father by being obedient to his will until the end. He has accomplished the purpose for which the Father has sent him. Now, the time has come at last for the Father to glorify him.
Jesus has washed the disciples’ feet and has given them supreme testimony of love and a model to follow: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:14-15). With this concrete example, Jesus enjoins his disciples to love one another. However, the love that Jesus speaks about has a specific identity. It is not just any kind of love but “as I have loved you.” John himself tells us how Jesus “loved his own”: “He loved them to the end” (13:1). Jesus’ love is seen in his giving up of himself for the sake of the others. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (15:13). The washing of the disciples’ feet teaches us that love is manifested first of all in service and sacrifice.
Tertullian tells us that in the early Church, the pagans were struck by the witness of Christian love. “See how they love one another!” they remarked. Jesus affirms that Christian love will be the mark of his every disciple: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples.” Paul and Barnabas, in the First Reading, were faithful to this tradition of Christian love. They served the Christian communities, encouraging them to persevere in faith and with prayer and fasting and commending them to the Lord. On the other hand, the Second Reading speaks of the new Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God… God’s dwelling is with the human race.” Love, in a way, makes God dwell with the human race.” Love is our portable New Jerusalem where God dwells. By our love for one another, God dwells in us and we will be known as Jesus’ disciples.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2022,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.