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)

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

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


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


For the second consecutive Sunday, even though we are still in Eastertide, we are presented with a gospel text which seems to have nothing to do with the Resurrection. Furthermore the text starts with Judas leaving the room (where Jesus and the Apostles were) in order to put his plan of betraying Jesus in action. It seems that Jesus waited for Judas’ departure before he started to speak in this particular piece of text.

As soon as Judas had gone, Jesus starts speaking about himself being glorified. Strange though it may seem, Jesus, although he knows that he is heading for his death, he is speaking of a glorification. At the same time Jesus is saying that through his glorification, it is the Father himself who has been glorified and in turn the Father, once glorified, will glorify the Son. We seem to have a glorifying circle where one’s glorification is the other’s and in turn glorifies the original back again. It is not a self-contained egoistic gratification of the Father and the Son. It is the glorification of the other one, not for the sole purpose of glorification, but because of the relationship that one has with the other because of what the other is – God.

Jesus knew that it was difficult for the disciples to understand the meaning of glorification and so he used the example of love. He tells his disciples how they could participate in his (and the Father’s) glorification through “love”, even if Jesus was not going to be with them. He gives them a new commandment – to love one another. But actually this commandment is not really that new at all – for there is already a commandment which tells them to love their neighbour. So, what is the ‘new’ referred to by Jesus? The novelty lies in ‘the reason’ why one should love. Love should not be motivated by some short-sighted temporary pleasure, beauty or any other element that at some point in time will fade away. The commandment of love is ‘new’ because through Jesus, love must be motivated by the other person i.e. not what the other person gives me (because that would be the egoistic reason of love) but for what the other person is – i.e. the image of God. This is where the novelty lies. And this love is reciprocal. While I love the other because the other is the image of God, the other loves me because I am also the image of God. It certainly helps if one ‘acts’ as a true image of God for although the other person is still the image of God, it is quite difficult to love that person if he/she does not act as one – only with God’s help would such be possible!

Jesus was glorified because he was ready to do the Father’s will and in doing so the Father himself was glorified. The Father then glorified the Son through his resurrection. We too can glorify God if we are ready to do the Father’s will. The Father in turn will glorify us by giving us the strength we need to love each other. In doing so, we will continue to glorify God through the other … if only we can truly understand his ways!

Lord, you gave us a new commandment to love one another. It is a sign of your presence in our lives. Help us to be able to live up to this commandment to be able to enter and participate into the glorification that You give to the Father and the Father gives You.  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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