First of all, I take this opportunity to congratulate our senior graduates and their families. Our prayers are with you in future plans.
Graduation! How exciting? I am sure seniors are full of dreams and plans for the future. Parents, teachers, and family will look at you with a question: what is next? What are you going to study? What do you want to become? Some of you are already decided, some of you are not sure yet.
Today we gather to honor your success and celebrate the Lord’s gift, the bread and wine, the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving. The gift of the Lord, the Body and Blood of Christ that we receive is the greatest gift possible. It is His sacrifice on the Cross made real in the Eucharist for us to eat and be nourished with. It is the source of our life.
A little Johnny asked his dad, “What is love?” Dad replied, “Love is giving away your life for someone.” Often we sing a beautiful hymn at the Mass, called, “They’ll know We Are Christians by Our Love.” Next time when we sign give special attention to those words. It is beautiful and profound.
Today’s readings are about LOVE. It talks about new things: the New Jerusalem, a new heaven and earth, and a new commandment. It’s all about new identity of Christian life. They use uniforms, habits, badges, banners and pinups designed to distinguish different groups and believers. We are symbolic beings who need to express our faith in symbolic ways.
The Gospel for the weekend is so profound. At the Last Supper, Jesus is sitting at the table, Judas has just left to betray him. The next thing Jesus says, which is the first part of the Gospel today, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” He is going to be arrested, nailed to the Cross and put to death. How can Jesus say the Son of Man is glorified? Then Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I think Jesus was saying he is going to take the pain and suffering of the Cross for you, so we will know his love. I thought little Johnny’s dad shared a profound thought: “Love is giving away your life for someone.” Through Jesus passion, death and resurrection, we will be able to acquire the ability to give away our life for someone.
“Love others as I have loved you” (John 13: 35). Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. Love is the Christian identity. Love is the Christian uniform. Love is the Christian habit.
We live in a world that denies our basic human worth. How do we reclaim our basic worth? We can become whole and holy only when we learn to love ourselves properly, acknowledging the presence of the triune God in our souls, making our bodies the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” It is through constant love-centered interaction with God and each other that the "new earth, the new heaven and the new Jerusalem" can begin to come into existence. It is not going happen one day, but it is a journey….