Reflections

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, MAY 19, 2019  

Love As I Have Loved You

1. Love Is Inventive
2. See How They Love One Another 

Introduction
1. Love Is Inventive
We are often surprised because of the things people who love us do for us or give us: it amazes us how inventive love can be. Look at God, the origin of all love: he lets his own Son become one of us; Jesus astonishes us by his love for sinners, for misfits in life, for those who suffer. He gives up his life for us. And it is that inventive love which he makes the heart of our faith and our life. If we only had a bit of love like that we could make ourselves and our world all new. It is this inventive, renewing love which Jesus comes to share with us in this Eucharist. 

2. See How They Love One Another
If you would be asked to define what is most typical of our Christian community, could it be said of us, as of the first Christians, “See how they love one another”? According to our Lord himself, the mark of his disciples should be that we love one another as he has loved us. Gathered here for the Lord’s meal of love, let us ask him to make us love one another the way he has loved us. 

First Reading: God Had Done Great Things with Them
Paul and Barnabas had suffered and toiled much to found new Christian communities and to encourage the faithful. Yet they acknowledged that it was God who did all this good work with them. 

1 Reading: Acts 14:21-27 
After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, 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.” They appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God. or: R. Alleluia.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works. R.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might. R.

Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations. R.

Second Reading: See, I Make All Things New
Since the resurrection of Jesus, a new world has begun to take shape among people, that of the presence of God among us through the risen Christ. John gives us a hopeful vision of this new world in the making. 

2 Reading: Rev 21:1-5a
Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” 

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.” 

Alleluia John 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel: A New Commandment for a New People
At the Last Supper Jesus leaves to his disciples the commandment of love as his last testament. This love is the key to a new world. 

Gospel: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
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. 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.” 

Commentary
“I give you a new commandment: love one another.” You can be commanded to obey, to behave this way or that, but how can you be commanded to love? External behaviour is subject to external rules, but how can the inner movement of our spirit be commanded? Can you be commanded to remember, or to forget, to think, to feel? How can you be commanded to love?
Meister Eckhart provided a key insight into this puzzling verse in the gospel. The command to love, he said, is not an external command but an inner one; it is an inner drive and urgency of our being. In “commanding” us to love, Jesus is telling us to look, to see our true nature and to follow it. It is like the inner urgency to eat when you are hungry, to drink when you are thirsty. “When I am thirsty, the drink commands me; when I am hungry, the food commands me. And God does the same. He commands me to such sweetness that the whole world cannot equal. And if a person has once tasted this sweetness, then indeed he can no more turn away with his love from goodness and from God, than God can turn away from His Godhead.” 

Blessing
In this Eucharistic celebration
we have been united as a community
of faith, hope and love.
Now we return to our respective tasks.
Let us keep united and take to heart
the Lord’s commandment of love.
Let us try to love one another
as he has loved us.
This is the key to a new world.
And take home with you
the blessing of almighty God:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen. 

Go in the joy and the love of the Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia!
R/ Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

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