The Fifth Sunday of Easter
"I give you a new commandment: love one another." (Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35)
Today we are inundated with a multitude of ways to identify ourselves. We have given names, family names, usernames, screen names, nicknames, and many other ways to say who we are. We also use these names to create and gain access to groups, clubs, etc. We build personas around the dynamics of the groups we are active in so that we are recognized as members of said groups. Even in religious and spiritual pursuits, this is no different. People adorn themselves with titles like a prophet, pastor, reverend, preacher, teacher, theologian, pharisee, and chief priest under the assertion of being a child of God and a follower of Christ. However, those words can ring hollow in some cases because there is no evidence of spiritual works.
In today’s Gospel, John writes:
“When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once.”
The sacrifice on Calvary glorifies God alone, and our redemption is the gift of grace that we can obtain by following the direction, teachings, and example of Jesus. In His perfection and with all the power in his hand, Jesus still was willing to relinquish that power to glorify God’s plan. This is something that ministers who are adorned with similar titles fall short of doing. The limited influence of these positions as ministers who refuse to let go of the power and place more importance than is necessary for self-glorification in Christ’s name. For this reason, some believe that these individuals are responsible for the exodus that we see in today’s church. But what is the remedy? Love is the remedy!
John goes on to write that 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.”
Love is the way! Love is a force that envelops and permeates all things. We are not just called to show love; we are called to be loved. How we are called to love each other is explained in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. "Love is patient, kind, it rejoices in truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:4). So, if you are going to identify yourself as a Christian, you must show love, share love, and be love.
An old Gospel song (see video below) says, “I will open up my heart to everyone I see and say Jesus Christ is the way.” We must use the love of Christ to gather his people. If we show the people the love Christ commanded of His faithful followers, Catholics will return to the Church. If we embody love, our titles though unnecessary, will come so that we can be who, what, and where God is calling us to be. Adhere to the new commandment that Jesus gave us because when all else passes away, love will remain, and if we are loved, we will live forever in Christ. Author: James Conway, Currently Parish Council President at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland “Focus on being and doing good, every great thing that was done wasn’t necessarily good.” -James Conway