John (13:31-33a, 34-35)

The three words or phrases that most resonated with me in this reading are My children,  glory and love.  I’m always amazed when speakers or teachers have the ability to say so few words which carry so much meaning. Jesus was the master of saying a lot with very few words.

In this short passage, Jesus is speaking to his disciples and he addresses them as, “My  children.”  I can only imagine the loving tone of his voice as he’s speaking to the followers he loves so much in the way that a parent speaks to a child the he or she cares so much about.

When my dad used to have something of great importance to tell me when he was speaking to me alone, he’d begin his very important fatherly words of guidance and wisdom with,  “My son.”  When he used those words, I knew how much he loved me and how special I was in his eyes. That may be why I can hear Jesus saying, “My children”, in such a loving way.

Perhaps that’s why in the Last Supper picture all of the apostles are intently leaning-in toward Jesus as he’s about to give them a new commandment? Can you imagine how they felt at that point?  At this meal, Judas has just been identified as Jesus’ betrayer, Jesus lets them know that his time remaining with them is limited and on top of that, he has a new commandment to share with them.  They might have been thinking something like, “I gave up all that I had to follow this guy, now he’s leaving me and he wants me to learn another new commandment!”  They must’ve felt frightened and overwhelmed.

Those of us who have lost a parent or tremendous mentor know this deep feeling of loss.

Jesus, in what appears to be his always brief style says, “l 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.”

If we think that Jesus is asking a lot  of us today when he tells us to “love one another”, can you imagine how the apostles felt during those very unloving and violent times? They probably were thinking, “Jesus isn’t just asking us to love. He’s asking us to love others as much as he’s loved us.  How can I do that?” With faith in Jesus and with the power of the Holy Spirit, each of us has the ability to love each other in the same way that Jesus loves us.

The other thought that I had was in regard to Jesus’ comment saying that people will know you are my disciples because of your love for one another.  Within my community, the banks are phenomenal citizens in their donation of time and financial support of the non-profits.  I was at an event this week and you could tell how many great citizens from the banks were present because of their lapel pins.

Bankers let everyone know which bank they represent with their shiny, gold lapel pins.  The pins are outwardly visible signs to the world that you’re an employee of this special bank. As Christians, we’re asked to live every day of our lives without the lapel pin, but with a love for people that is visible to everyone.  We can show our Jesus-like love in many ways: with our sensitivity, our willingness to listen, our self-less offer to serve others, with our forgiveness and in our love of God. We’re asked to show that we’re disciples of Christ with our actions, not with jewelry.

The third concept in this Gospel of John that stood out to me is glory.  When we truly love one another in the way that Jesus loved his disciples and loves us, we’re glorifying him.  We bring glory to Jesus when we love others.

Love is the visible sign that Christians bring to the world with their actions.

In what new ways can you bring glory to Jesus and improve the world this week with your unique love?

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