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Exploring the Word (Archive)

5th Sunday of Easter, Year C 

15 May 2022
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Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

When Judas had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
and, as I told the Jews,
where I am going,
you cannot come.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another;
just as I have loved you,
you also must love one another.
By this love you have for one another,
everyone will know that you are my disciples.’

(John 13:31–35) 

Did you know? 

Points of interest and Catholic lore 
  • The title ‘Son of Man’ is one that is often used by Jesus in the gospels to describe himself.
  • In the Gospel of John, when Jesus speaks of being glorified or exalted, he is referring to his death on the cross. For John, this is the moment of supreme triumph for Jesus.
  • This text comes from a section of John’s Gospel known as the Farewell Discourse, which is delivered by Jesus to his friends just before his arrest. Here, Judas has already gone out to betray him.

Exploring the Word 

The Gospel of John is often divided into two sections: the Book of Signs, detailing the public ministry of Jesus aimed at bringing people to belief, and the Book of Glory, which outlines the events leading to his death and resurrection. One part of that concluding section of the gospel describes the events of his final night with his followers. It is too late now for those who have not recognised that Jesus is the Messiah. He closets himself with those who do believe and gives them extended instruction on how they are to continue his mission after he is gone. Both today’s reading and next week’s gospel come from this section of the text. 

Jesus is telling his disciples not just that they must love each other, but also that they must love as he has loved. This moves beyond the commandment known to the Jews to love one’s neighbour as oneself. The love that Jesus showed was the total self-giving and selfless love that led to his death on the cross—his glorification. It is this love that reveals the love of God, who islove. This new and difficult love is to be the true mark of a Christian in a truly Christian community.

  • How do you understand this commandment to love as Jesus loved? 

Making connections 

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer 
  • How will people know that you are a disciple of Jesus?
  • In what ways do you glorify God?
  • How do you show love for others?
  • Sometimes it is easy to love but at other times it becomes very difficult. Share an experience of being loved beyond what was expected or even deserved. Or share an occasion when you were called on to continue loving, even though it was very difficult.
  • Can you take up the challenge and act with love towards all people you encounter this week?
  • The Easter season is one of praise and glorification. Use the Gloria as your prayer this week.
    Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace to people of good will.
    We praise you,
    we bless you,
    we adore you,
    we glorify you,
    we give you thanks for your great glory,
    Lord God, heavenly King,
    O God, almighty Father.
    Lord Jesus Christ, only Begotten Son, 
    Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father
    you take away the sins of the world,
    have mercy on us; 
    you take away the sins of the world,
    receive our prayer;
    you are seated at the right hand of the Father, 
    have mercy on us. 
    For you alone are the Holy One, 
    you alone are the Lord, 
    you alone are the Most High, 
    Jesus Christ, 
    with the Holy Spirit, 
    in the glory of God the Father.
    Amen.

Sharing the tradition 

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ 

‘Ever since St Augustine, the Ten Commandments have occupied a predominant place in the catehesis of baptismal candidates and the faithful’ (CCC §2065). The Ten Commandments outline how to live in right relationship both with God (the first three) and with our neighbour (the remaining seven). They cover all aspects of living in fidelity to the love of God for God’s people.
‘Ever since St Augustine, the Ten Commandments have occupied a predominant place in the catehesis of baptismal candidates and the faithful’ (CCC §2065). The Ten Commandments outline how to live in right relationship both with God (the first three) and with our neighbour (the remaining seven). They cover all aspects of living in fidelity to the love of God for God’s people.

  • Explore how the Ten Commandments can be applied to our own society and interpreted to guide our lives today.

The new commandment of Jesus to love one another as he loved takes this a step further.

  • Explore the nature of loving as Jesus loved.
  • You could use some examples of people who have displayed this selfless love—for example, Damien of Molokai, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Symbols and images 

The new commandment of love for one another becomes the defining principle and sign of discipleship. It is through this love for each other, which sets believers apart from the rest of the community, that people will know that they are followers of Jesus. This is much more difficult than it sounds! The biggest challenge is to act with love towards those we find it difficult to like!

Living the Word 

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment 
  • In what ways does your community show love for one another? How does it give public witness to discipleship? How may the broader community see this in the way people treat each other and in the love they display?
  • Continue to use the symbols of Easter and initiation as a focus for prayer. Pray for strength for each other to live as Christ lived and to love as he loved. You could again recite the Creed together. Conclude with an Easter song or perhaps ‘I have loved you’ (GA 402).
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