I have chosen you
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Hate and love are two different emotions in human life. Generally, hatred is often associated with intense feelings of anger, dislikeness and prejudice. It divides the people and makes disunity in Christian life. Whereas love is positive behavior, it is characterized by intimacy, passion, and commitment. It builds long-lasting bonds in relationships, develops inner peace and understanding in human life. Today’s Gospel John 13:31-35 has focus on the New Commandment of Jesu, “I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Biblically, it is very clear that love and hate are opposites, and their effects are also opposites as well. The Christians are, called to love everyone, even our enemies. It is a tremendous blessing to be set free from hatred by the understanding that Christ died to make us free from all evil. Therefore, how powerful is this biblical truth! Hatred is the evil’s way. Love is the way of Christ, and of the Kingdom of God. It was the love of Christ that compelled him to suffer and die for us, to rid us of our own hate, and to forgive us of our sins.
It is a New Commandment because, it has new in its origin. The old commandment to love was given by God through Moses. But the New commandment was given by Christ Himself. He said, ‘A New Commandment I give unto you.’ What difference does this make? The difference is that Christ had been with His disciples for three years and had known them and loved them dearly. He has passion for them to give sacrifice and saved them. Secondly, it has reciprocal nature and emphasized by the words “one another,” it is found no less than three times in vv.34-35. This phrase shows that it has to be a love that is to be shared mutually by all of Christ’s disciples; It is a love for one another that will naturally bind them closely one to another. Thirdly, it is new in its objects. The disciples were to love one another in the same way that Jesus had loved them. Since Jesus did not love His disciples because they were loveable, but He loved them despite of all their faults and failures. It is unconditional love which He has given them.
Finally, the new commandment helps us to understand why Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (v.35) The more that we love one another the way that Christ Himself loves His disciples, the more we will bear the likeness of Christ in our lives, and the more that people around us will be able to see Christ in us and recognize that we are truly His disciples. Therefore today, we still need to revise our new commandment of love, by honoring, respecting, accepting, forgiving and remining faithful to each other by loving each other.
Fr. Dominic Ishaq JCD