Today’s readings are about renewal and new things: The New Jerusalem, a new Heaven and a new earth, and a new commandment. Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes how the small Christian communities helped the work of renewal in their members by their agápe love, imitating the agápe love of Paul and Barnabas.
The second reading, from the Book of Revelation, explains how God renews His Church, the New Jerusalem, by being present in her members, in their parish communities, and in their liturgical celebrations. “See, I am making all things new.”
Today’s Gospel passage gives us the secret of Christian renewal as the faithful practice of Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:35). Jesus has added a new element to the Old Testament command of love by teaching us that the true test of discipleship is to love other people in the same way that he has loved us, with sacrificial, selfless, self-giving, unconditional, agápe love. Hence, the renewal of Christian life means a radical change of vision and a reordering of our priorities in life. Such a renewal brings us to embrace new attitudes, new values, and new standards of relating to God, to other people and, indeed, to our whole environment.
1) Let us learn to love ourselves so that we may learn to love each other. The old commandment (Lv 19:1-2, 9-18) says: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We cannot learn to cherish others and care for them if we have never learned to do the same for ourselves. We live in a world that denies our basic human worth. How do we reclaim our basic worth? We can become whole and holy only when we learn to love ourselves properly, acknowledging the fact that we are children of God and that the Triune God resides in our souls, making our bodies the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”
2) Let us love others in our daily lives: We are asked to love as Jesus loved, in the ordinary course of our lives. We love others by responding to their everyday needs with love and compassion. We love others by comforting and protecting those who have experienced loss. We love others by serving others in every possible way, no matter how small, seeing the face of Jesus in them. We love others by forgiving rather than condemning, by challenging rather than condoning. Finally, we love others by sacrificially sharing our time, talents, and blessings with them.
3) Let us demonstrate our love for others in our gatherings and parish assemblies: When we are assembled as a religious or social community, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our love for one another. People must see Christians as people who interact with a love and concern for one another that reveals their strong love and appreciation for each other. They should see in us a quickness to appreciate and readiness to forgive, even as Christ has forgiven us