Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Fifth Sunday of Easter


 John 13. 31-35

“Love one another, just as I have loved you”

The whole of the Easter season celebrates the Risen Christ, the first-born of the new creation. Through our baptism we have become one with him, born to new life in him. The Easter season especially is the time when we recall and celebrate the new life given to us by the Risen Lord, and remember that a new life demands new attitudes, new standards, a new life style. Today’s Gospel reading consists of words spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper.

With his ‘new commandment’ he challenges us to deepen our understanding of this new life, and to live it with greater commitment. These words, spoken just after Jesus had symbolically washed the feet of his disciples, remind us of something fundamental but often forgotten: the litmus test of authentic Christianity is the quality of our love for each other: “love one another, just as I have loved you”. We need to question, both individually and together, what in real and practical terms this new commandment should mean to us; what does it demand of us? After all, it is the basic and irreplaceable sign of our discipleship: “by this love you have for one another every one will know that you are my disciples”.

No amount of pious practices, parish programmes or religious organisations can take the place of that basic reality. This commandment to community love is the consequence and necessary expression of our common sharing in the life and love freely offered to us by the Risen Christ. It I given its supreme expression in the celebration of the Eucharist where we pray that “all who are nourished by his body and blood, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ”. Our participation in the Eucharist unites us and empowers us to persevere in our efforts to build community. It is the supreme source of the Christ-like love by which we are called to live.