HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: The Novelty of the “New” Commandment
BY: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 15 2022
Our Gospel text (John 13:31-33a, 34-35) for the Fifth Sunday of Easter contains one of the “Farewell Discourses” of Jesus Christ. He gave this parting instruction to the eleven disciples shortly after the Last Supper, before his Passion in Jerusalem.
Jesus informs his disciples that he will be with them only a little while longer. Before he departs, though, he gives them a “new” commandment: to love one another as he has loved them. Moreover, he reveals to them that it is through this “new” commandment that their identity as his disciples will be revealed. Through it too, people will recognize that they are his disciples.
What then is this “Farewell Discourse”? Jesus says, “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” (John 13:34-35).
The addition of the clause “as I have loved you” made the old commandment of love (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:37–39) “new.” Jesus loves his disciples to the extent of washing their feet. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). Furthermore, it is the love of Jesus Christ, which he demonstrated by giving his life for us on the cross.
Loving our neighbor as Jesus loves us, especially with his love, is what makes us disciples of Jesus. Moreover, it is in practicing this type of love that people will recognize us as disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore, loving like Jesus is our flag and badge as disciples of Christ Jesus.
Let us today love one another, not just as we love ourselves, but as Jesus loves us. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” writes Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. And that is how Jesus loves us.
Jesus loves us to the extent of becoming man to save us. He loves us despite our frailties, our limitations, and our human weaknesses. It is loving in this way that will stand us out and will give us a new identity as new men and women, new brothers, and new sisters in the Lord. And most importantly, it makes us the new People of God, that is, the Church, in which everyone is called to love Christ and to love one another in him.