“My Friends,”

The Gospel passages have been concise the last three weeks. There are no elaborate story lines or parables. It is simply the rich wisdom of Jesus. In many respects, it is as though Jesus, after having resurrected and made known his presence, sits down with us informally. You can imagine him sitting in front of you and saying, “My friends,” and we listen to them through the lens of salvation history. Jesus, having defeated death and sealed the new covenant is now preparing us — perhaps for the long journey of Ordinary Time.

My friend, “my sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one” (John 10:27-30).

“I know them.” “I give them eternal life.” “No one can take them from me.” Regardless of where we go, what we do, how we get lost or where we end up our Shepherd is with us. These facts are deeply consoling especially when moments in life can feel so lonely or harsh. He teaches us also that when Jesus is with us so is the Father. They are one.

My friend, “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” (John 13: 31-33, 34-35).

Reread the passage — backwards. Start with, “I give you a new commandment” and then loop back to the beginning. God is most certainly glorified when we love one another as Christ loved us. As God has loved us. Christ modeled this love through his ministry and his Passion. God gave us His only Son because He so loved us. No greater sacrifice and yet no greater reward than to have millions of disciples bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

As we walk through the season of Easter let’s relish in these teachings, meditate over them in preparation for the long journey ahead.

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