We may wonder why on this Fifth Sunday of Easter we are reading the 13th chapter of the Gospel of St John opening the Passion of Jesus. Well, St John didn’t simply record events but he preached the Good News of Jesus. There is no doubt that writing these verses about the final moments of Jesus he remembered his Master in the glory of his Resurrection. The passage read this Sunday is very short but it is packed with 5 references of God the Father being glorified in Jesus and God the Father glorifying Jesus. St John witnessed the Father being glorified through the obedience of Jesus on the cross and he also witnessed the Father glorifying Jesus in the Resurrection. This part of the Gospel of St John, beginning with Chapter 13 is called the Book of Glory, not simply because the word GLORY is mentioned many times but because it is the
manifestation of the powerful actions of God who through the death and Resurrection of His Son. God enters once again the stage of the world not to terrorize the world but to save the world from the terrorism of sin and death. The Resurrection of Christ is the burst of life. It reveals how powerful this life God brings into our world through the rising of his Son from death is.
In last few weeks I was attending a course at the Sacred Heard Centre. There was so much we studied that I will need to go back to the materials to refresh my memory but there is something I remember without any notes. Doing my daily walks I noticed some sheep on the property. There was one sheep that got my attention. It had only three legs. I could see that following the rest of the flock was very difficult for this “disabled sheep.” First I thought that it was cruel to keep this sheep alive. A couple of days later I changed my mind. Do you know why? I saw a new born lamb following it. The seep had a baby. As I was standing and contemplating the scene I couldn’t help thinking that life can overpower all limitations and disadvantages. The glory of God revealed in the death and Resurrection of Jesus gives us life that is more than surviving another day, more than putting up with problems of life, more than coping with life issues. It is life of God that springs out of our problems, issues and limitations because the power of the Holy Spirit is there.
Let me finish with what Jesus said to his Apostles in today’s Gospel: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another, just as I have loved you.” This expression “just as” that St John wrote in the original text means more than an example set for us to follow. It also means a source or a foundation. That’s why as we listen to this commandment of Jesus let’s remember that it also means “Love one another drawing love from the source of my love for you.” Then we experience the explosion of life that Jesus tasted when he was leaving his tomb. We experience that we love even those we dislike, those who annoy us, those who hurt or take advantage of us. We love them because the Holy Spirit lives and works in us to the Glory of God the Father and in this way our live become the continuation of the Book of Glory from the Gospel of St John. This Book starts with the Chapter 13 but it is still being written as God is being glorified in us and through us.