Reflection: Fifth Sunday of Easter

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering


[1st Reading – Acts 14:21-27; Ps.144; 2nd Reading – Rev.21:1-5; Gospel – Jn.13:31-35]

“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.  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.”

It seems that Jesus waited for Judas to be gone before he said the words that constitutes today’s gospel.  We all know Judas quite well and what he represents.  We all know why and where Judas went when he left Jesus and the other eleven.  The result of Judas’ action (in leaving) is that Jesus is seeing his glorification unfolding.  Once Judas was on his way to act ‘in darkness’, Jesus speaks about his glorification, which seems to be made of two particular moments: firstly it was at the particular moment when Judas separated himself from the other eleven and secondly it was at  the ‘hour of Jesus’ that was very imminent, i.e., Jesus’ death and resurrection!!!  The mere fact that the traitor was no longer with Jesus anymore meant that Jesus was already seeing and feeling his ‘glorification’ taking place.

Jesus speaks about his ‘glorification’ and he speaks of it as something that was taking place already … from the moment Judas left.  Judas’ presence with the twelve did not create a serene atmosphere, even though Jesus had personally chosen Judas.  Therefore, even if one is chosen, even to be a close and intimate friend of Jesus, one can still decide and chose to become a traitor … despite Jesus giving him all the possibilities to amend and realise what he was doing – Judas still chose to go ahead and (through his own free will) he chose to ‘leave’ Jesus and betray him.

Therefore Judas’ leaving and separating himself from the others meant for Jesus that now he is going to be given into the hands of those who will try him and kill him.  It is at his death and resurrection that Jesus is seeing the Father glorifying him and being glorified himself.  At the same time Judas’ leaving also meant the purifying and therefore the integrity of those who are ‘truly’ following Jesus … even though they are never going to lose their human weakness and fragility.  In other words, Jesus is now left with those who want to be with him … even though (as we all know) when the time came for Jesus to be taken away, they all scattered and left Jesus all alone!!!

Jesus is seeing this particular moment as his ‘glorification’ because he is surrounded by those who have passed through difficult moments with him, but they decided to stay with him and continued to follow him.  Yes, Jesus is glorified in them and Jesus’ glorification also means the Father’s glorification (because Jesus and the Father are one).  Since the Father is glorified in Jesus, the Father will, in turn, glorify Jesus through his death and resurrection and giving him the place that is his i.e. with the Father.

Jesus continues and addresses his followers affectionately as ‘my little children’.  This affection shows how much he cares for them (i.e. as if they were little children).  His care is so extraordinary that although, as he is telling them, he is not going to be with them much longer (because he will be going to take his place with the Father) he gave them ‘a new commandment’ to love one another.  It is their turn now to take care of each other and to do it as Jesus himself had done when he was with them.  And this is the novelty of this commandment.  It is not in the ‘loving each other’ because something similar already existed among them … But what is new is to how they are to love each other… i.e. ‘as Jesus loved them’ – this is the model that he gave them on how to love each other!  This is the sign of the disciples of Jesus!  Jesus loved Judas as well by choosing him to be one of the twelve, but it was up to Judas to choose otherwise!

What are we doing that shows that we too are trying to be true disciples of Christ?  Are we glorifying God the Father through Jesus by the way we live and by the way we love each other?!

“Lord, you gave us a new commandment to love each other.  Help us to imitate you and to learn to love as you love us and care for us.  Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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