Commentary on the Gospel of
May 19 – John 13:31-33a, 34-35 (Sunday)
Give service from the Heart!
Farewell speeches, most often, are full of emotional expressions amid sadness and tears! Here, we experience one quite unique and highly didactic! Amid ‘relief’, for at last the hour of glory is here; very long and fully self revelatory of the Jesus’ attitude to the Father and to the faithful disciples. The speech flows from the departure of Judas Iscariot in chapter 13:31 and culminates in the priestly prayer of our Lord in chapter 17! Our Lord self discloses in depth to the disciples. Really amazing!!
The first observation is that the rebuilding of the entire community recommenced immediately after the departure of Judas Iscariot! And so he missed the great teaching on love as service - ‘basic to community building!’ If Judas represented betrayal, disappointment, awful emotional upset in the community, then his departure brought relief! At a personal level, one is challenged to look at one’s shadow-side that tends to betray one’s closeness to the Lord Jesus. And at the community level, one is equally challenged to revisit one’s attitudes that attempt to blur one’s positive contributions in the Christian community.
Furthermore, this introductory part of the entire speech invites us to embrace the Jesus’ legacy: ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ The book of Leviticus (19:18) says love your neighbor as yourself, whereas the Lord says ‘as I have loved you’ which is a complete refocusing on God who is love (1 John 4:8)! He is our model, modeled in his washing the feet of the disciples as the servant of his own followers! Dear friends, the modeling by our Lord leave us (his followers) with a single all important tradition, namely: we are called to serve each other from the depth of our hearts.