May 19, 2019 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 14:21-27

Paul and Barnabas proclaim the good news in many places.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:8-9,10-11,12-13

A song of praise to God.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:1-5a

John describes his vision of a new heaven and a new earth.

Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35

Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
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.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel again comes from the Gospel of John. Like last week, today we hear words spoken by Jesus before his death and Resurrection. Jesus is teaching at the Last Supper.

John’s Gospel does not include an institution of the Eucharist narrative; instead, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. Immediately after, Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas. Today’s Gospel follows that prediction. It can be read as a continuing explanation of Jesus’ act of washing his disciples’ feet. It begins with the announcement that this is the moment when the Son of Man will be glorified. This theme continues throughout John’s Passion. Jesus will be glorified in his death on the cross and in his Resurrection, and the disciples will glorify Jesus in the love they show.

John’s Gospel does not present a sentimental view of love. This is a type of love that is shown in service and sacrifice. It is difficult to choose to love when faced with hatred and anger. Jesus tells the disciples that all will know that they are his disciples because of the love they show for one another. This description of the early Christian community will be repeated in the Acts of the Apostles: “See how they love one another.” Christian love is the hallmark of Christianity. We see it lived in the witness of the martyrs. We see it in the example of the lives of the saints. We see it in the holy women and men who live and love daily, making small and large sacrifices for others.

Family Connection

Is love the first word your family members use to describe their interactions? Love is difficult. Jesus’ sacrifice for us is an example of this. Yet because of love, the glory of God is fully revealed in Jesus. God’s Is love the first word your family members use to describe their interactions? Love is difficult. Jesus’ sacrifice glory is revealed in us when we act as the Body of Christ, as individuals and as a community. In the love we have for one another—difficult, challenging, sacrificial love—we find Jesus.

Choose one or two occasions when your family was together during the week. Describe the family’s interactions from an outsider’s perspective. When is it less difficult to show love to family members? When is it more difficult? When love is difficult, what do we do?

Jesus didn’t just tell us to love one another. He showed us how to love one another. In what ways did Jesus show us how to love? (in his acts of healing and forgiving; at the Last Supper as he washed his disciples’ feet; in the gift of the Eucharist; through his death on the Cross)

Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings