April 24, Fifth Sunday of Easter
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 14:21-27
2) Revelation 21:1-5a
Gospel: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges his disciples to take care of one another when he’s gone. But when he says, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another,” he emphasizes that the love he hopes will remain among them is of an uncommon kind.
For God, love is unconditional and absolute. But for us human beings, it seems, all love isn’t so equal. Nevertheless, Jesus calls us to hold one another in the kind of unconditional love that he has for all of us.
I can understand what Jesus is getting at. The other day, one of my grown children was complaining to me about a sibling — also one of my children, by the way, so I didn’t much like hearing it. In fact, I was stung as though I’d been the object of the criticism myself.
That wasn’t the intention. This child was simply airing out minor family issues. I’d certainly listened to criticisms among the siblings before. No one meant to hurt me or each other, and the complaints always were prefaced by a sincere, “I love (sibling), but …”
I know that. But I wish they’d consider my feelings and see each other through my eyes as a parent, where even when my child goes wrong, I instinctively recognize, love and defend his inherent goodness.
However, such an attitude doesn’t come easily in our daily encounters with others — even friends.
When I catch myself complaining about someone, I often stop because I sense God’s disapproval of my behavior — not out of consideration for his love of that person.
Today’s Scriptures take us beyond morality to living as one of Jesus’ own: loving others not only as he loves me, but also as he loves them.
Revelation’s image of God dwelling with us is of God living and loving his entire human family — being not just my God but our God.
Jesus lived briefly among us in the flesh. Like a parent loving his children and desiring that they embrace each other in that same love after he passes on, Jesus tells his disciples that the world will know they belong to him when they share his unconditional love with one another in every encounter.
Where in your life are you currently experiencing concerns or conflicts involving others? How does trying to see others through God’s eyes change your attitude toward them? How does it change you?