Gospel Reflections

5th Sunday of Easter

John 13:31-33A, 34-35

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Anne Flanagan

Published: May 19, 2019


Today, we hear from the gospel of John the final words of Jesus to his disciples before his impending death.

“I will be with you only a little longer. I give you a new commandment “love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

Have you ever been at the bedside of a dying loved one-mother, father or someone else you were very close, to? As I have been, I am sure you were very intent on listening to the loved one’s last words. Do you remember the last words you heard? I certainly do. 

So in this Gospel we are privileged to listen to Jesus’ last words to us before he goes to his death on the Cross.  They are very simple, yet very profound and challenging because they sum up His whole life.  It was all LOVE!

God so loved the world that He sent us His only begotten Son.  Jesus, Himself, is the expression of God’s Love.  In scripture, we read that He, Jesus, went about doing good.  Could we not say, He went about showing Love- BEING LOVE INCARNATE??

However, there was more to Jesus’ last words, for He told us that we will be his disciples if we have love for one another. Yes, if we love as He has loved us!

That is the mark of a true disciple.  Being a Christian is not about knowing the faith or knowing what the catechism says.  It is first and foremost about our relationship with Jesus and how we love one another.

How, practically, can and do we love one another?  One writer said that listening is one of the most important ways we can show our love for others. As he says listening not just with the ears but with the heart.  We might ask how well do I listen to the others in my life-family, community members, co-workers…?? 

Then God’s love empowers us to justice. As faithful disciples, we need to listen to the cries of our brothers and sisters in need-homeless, abused children, migrants, to the poor in Haiti, victims of natural disasters.  Then if we truly listen to their cries and to the Spirit at work in our hearts, we will know how to show our love, how to be the expression of God’s love we are called to be.  Then truly others will know we are Christians by our love.

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