Love one another
Even though this Sunday’s Gospel took place on Maundy Thursday, it has a clear Easter message. Jesus talks about the new life that we have in him — a new life of faith and love. Jesus’ resurrection means new life, given to us through Holy Baptism (Romans 6:4).
Jesus talks first about how he is glorified. “When Judas was gone,” Jesus said that he was glorified “now.” The betrayal that was about to happen, the arrest, beating and death – Jesus found glory in self-sacrifice. Then Jesus calls his disciples, including us, “My children.” Jesus is our father, and we his children find glory as he did: in giving ourselves. “Love one another.” And as we do this, all people will recognize that we belong to Jesus and to no one else.
It’s a “new command,” not something never before spoken (cf. Lev. 9:18), but Jesus “freshened it up.” “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” When we see the extent of Jesus’ love, we are inspired to depths of love we couldn’t imagine in ourselves. Self-less love seems so rare; high school kids are told to serve others, but it’s to get “community credit” and pad their college resumes. But we children of Jesus, baptized into his new life, can love as he loved.
As Christians we love, and then we can explain to our neighbors why we love. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We point to the love of Christ. We are disciples of the “Son of Man,” who did not get all hung up on himself and the glory he should receive, but instead simply served and gave up everything for us. Because of Jesus’ Easter victory, we are completely sure of the prosperity waiting for us in heaven, and the riches we already enjoy; so we can spend our time serving others humbly. We aim to love as he loved.