Fifth Sunday of Easter - 19th May, 2019

Liturgical Reflection

The Gospel According to John 13:31-35

In today’s Gospel we are at the greatest social event in history, the “Last Supper”.  Jesus has already given us the greatest gift of all, the Holy Eucharist and Judas has left to carry out his treachery, when Jesus announces the glorification of the Son of Man and proceeds to bestow on us the greatest commandment of all.

This sublime defining moment outlines, in one small sentence, the behavioural pattern for all those who are to follow him: “Love one another, as I have loved you”.

Love, as St Paul told us, is the greatest of the virtues.  A few weeks ago, we remembered the fallen of our nation, young sailors, soldiers and airmen and women who offered up the supreme sacrifice out of love for their kin, and fellow Australians, to let them live in freedom and peace.

Their great epitaph “No greater love than those who lay down their lives for a friend” has been a part of our culture since we were little children.

We have read of modern saints like St Maximillian Kolbe, giving up his life to give life to another in Auschwitz, and in earlier times, the apostles, the “great deacons of the church” – St Stephen, St Laurence and St Vincent of Saragossa, to name a few – giving up their lives in martyrdom because their love for Our Blessed Lord was greater than their own life.

If we all followed the words of Jesus on that Holy Thursday night, we would be living in an “utopian world”.  No one ever has, or will, eclipse the sublime love that Christ showed for us, the very next day after his divine message was given at the Last Supper.  Those three words so often used by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – “Deus Caritas Est” – should pierce our heart every time we are tempted to transgress.  God is love, and love for God and humanity above ourselves is all!

St Thomas Aquinas Chapter