Homily for the fifth Sunday of Easter - Year C - Jn. 13:31-35
Father Daniel Meynen
"When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, 'Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, Where I am going you cannot come.
" 'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.' "
"When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, 'Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.' "
Jesus is Man par excellence: he is the New Adam who restores in himself the creation that fell through the sin committed at humanity's beginning, the Original Sin. Jesus is the Son of Man, and it is His words that Saint John recorded in the Book of the Apocalypse, in the passage that is read today: "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5)
"Now is the Son of man glorified."
This "now" is the hour of the Passion of the Lord. It is the moment of glory, it is the instant of the supreme crowning, though in suffering and pain, for it is a crowning with thorns... As Saint Paul says: "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Gal. 6:14)
"And in him God is glorified."
On the Cross of Calvary, God is truly glorified in Jesus, who dies for the Redemption of the world! For it is not only the blood of a man that is shed, but also, and first, the Precious Blood of God, the Blood of the one God become man in Jesus of Nazareth! This blood poured out upon the earth glorifies God in Jesus the Savior and Redeemer: from that time on, the creation that was renewed in Jesus - the New Adam - renders glory to God through the Blood of the Righteous One shed for the salvation of the world!
"If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once."
In Jesus, God - who is "spirit" (Jn. 4:24) - lives and dwells as in a temple, the Temple of his Body (cf. Jn. 2:21). For this reason, God did not want the body of his Servant Jesus to know corruption. Moreover, the Spirit of God resurrected Jesus in order that, for all eternity, God might be glorified in him! Now, the glorified Body of Jesus could not remain on earth, where the Blood of the Righteous One was shed for the forgiveness of sins... For, on earth, the Passion of the Lord has not been totally completed: it continues still in the members of his Mystical Body, the Church. Saint Paul reminds us of this, saying: "In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church." (Col. 1:24) This is why, forty days after his Resurrection, Jesus went up to Heaven, in the Glory of God. There, in Heaven, his home, God glorifies him in himself! "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.' " (Jn. 13:33)
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
As the Book of the Apocalypse says, in our previous citation: "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5) For Jesus, this newness is not only that God is glorified in him, but that he himself is glorified in God. The Father is in the Son of man, and the Son of man is in the Father. That unique moment of his Ascension into Heaven had been announced by Jesus to Mary Magdalene, a short time after his Resurrection: "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father... I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (Jn. 20:17)
"Love one another; even as I have loved you, love one another."
For us, this newness of the Resurrection of Jesus is just like that which Christ experienced. If Jesus is - body and soul - in the Father, alive in the Love of the Holy Spirit, then we too, who are the members of his Body and who should be other "christs", are called to a new life in the Holy Spirit: that of the mutual love of brothers and sisters who share but a single heart, a single soul. The new commandment is that one should live no longer in himself and for himself, but rather in that other person who is our brother or sister, and for him or her!
"As I have loved you, love one another."
Our model is Jesus: he is truly the "first-born among many brethren" (Rm. 8:29). Thus, Christians are called to live, and to love each other, as Jesus did: "As I loved you, you also like you the ones the others." If Jesus is in the Father for a mutual love, then Jesus must also come into each one of us for a common and universal love! Is this not what is realized each time it is granted to us to approach the altar of the Lord in order to receive within us his Body and Blood? Is it not almighty God who then comes into us in order to take us into himself?
Already, through Eucharistic communion, we can anticipate our ascent into Heaven! The Most Blessed Virgin Mary understood this very well: when she saw Jesus rising up into Heaven, in the Glory of God, she followed her Divine Son in spirit, she held him in her memory forever, in order to remain forever with Him. Let us ask Our Mother in Heaven to prepare us for today's communion: through her almighty prayer, may we already be with Jesus, glorified in Heaven!