Fifth Sunday of Easter
The commandment of the mutual love
When he had left, 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 he will glorify him at once.… 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.” Jn 13,31-33a.34-35
The last supper with the disciples is over. Jesus has just said to Jude: “What you are going to do, do quickly” (Jn 13,27). Jude went out by night time and to those who remained with him Jesus gives a new commandment, which has to be considered his spiritual testament: “As I loved you, so you also should love one another”. Hence, the love is the new commandment of Jesus and the distinctive sign of the Christian. Thinking to the way we are done, this mandate to love each other would be not acceptable and not explainable, but, if we accept the message of the gospel, the commandment of the Lord becomes a creative one because it generates the prerequisites for its implementation. In other words, the Lord makes the miracle to change the heart of the man to make possible what he commands, as Ezekiel prophesied: “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts” (Ez 36,26). Paul mentions in several letters the fruits of the new spirit brought by Jesus: “In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5,22). These are the sentiments which distinguish the relation among the brothers in the faith. The question is: these sentiments exist only among brothers in the faith or can be extended to the neighbor, whoever he is?…..The answer is obvious: because God loves all the men and he has not saved his unique son for them, also the Christian is called to act in the same way. You have to love even your enemy: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5,44). From the human point of view this would be not possible, but because this is a commandment, the Lord creates the prerequisites for its implementation. The love is the new way of life and of having relationships among the men which Jesus brought in the world. There is a simple way to experiment how all of this is true: when the human relations, particularly in the family, becomes difficult, it is enough to start to pray together, then the twisted difficulties of the heart are solved and we go back to love each other more than previously. If, for some reason, it is not possible to do it openly, it is enough to silently pray on our own, consequently the chains of the heart of everybody will be pulled loose, as they have been melted for Paul and Silas when they were jailed: “About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose” (Acts 16,25-26), also of the people who did not pray.