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.
We read from the Gospel of John, Jesus's last discourse. Here Jesus summarizes his entire teaching in his New Commandment, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” In the book of Leviticus 19:18 we read, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It teaches the human love of ourselves and others. In the Gospel Jesus commands the divine love for one another. In other words, he was asking his disciples to love one another with the heart of Christ.
We use the word love for everything and it has lost its true meaning. We love everything, even ice cream. Love and likeness are two different things. Likeness is connected to our feelings, love is an act of our will. I think Jesus was saying that he is going to take the pain and suffering of the Cross for you/us, so they/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.
We see in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch. They gathered together the Church and strengthened the faith of the faithful. Paul urged them to brace themselves for the suffering and persecution. Paul and Barnabas installed the elders with prayer and fasting, so each church could have leadership while Paul and Barnabas traveled. Their lives were centered on agape love.
The second reading from the Book of revelation, John had a vision about New Heaven and Earth. It is not entirely new, but entirely renewed. John sees all creation is transformed and made radiant with the glory of God. In the Book of Genesis 3:17&18 we read the world subjected to death and decay, but in John’s vision in Christ everything made new. The process of regeneration has begun in the new covenant. Isaiah prophesied a new beginning of Israel. We read in Isaiah 65:17, “I am creating new heavens and a new earth; The former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind.” God is the builder of the heavenly city (Hebrew 11:10). John heard a loud voice saying that God will dwell among his people. We read in the book of Ezekiel 37:27, “My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
All through the readings we can see a message of newness. The Christian community is called to live a new way of life. We became a new creation in Christ and we have new living experience, a new relationship with God. At the Last supper discourse Jesus said to his disciples, “I will be leaving soon and until I come back, live with the heart of his own: “Love one another, as I have loved you” Prior to his farewell speech, Jesus instituted the Eucharist and washed their feet, showing the new way of life. Jesus continues to wash our feet at every Eucharist and shares His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, so we can go out and live the new way of life.