Scripture: Lectionary 282: Acts 13:13-25. Psalm 89: 2-3,21-22, 25,27. John
Our Gospel reading takes us into the scene of the washing of the feet of
his disciples by Jesus. We start however with the beginning of a prayerful
discourse of Jesus (called the Priestly Prayer). We are now in the second
and most important part of the Fourth Gospel. It is the theology of the
evangelist that springs forth through the deeply meaningful words of Jesus.
We hear his living voice.
The whole of the Gospel is a revelatory one. Jesus is the Revealer of God
and the Apostle of God–the one sent from the Father as we read in the last
line of our Gospel for today. His lengthy discourse is focused on the
theme of love. Jesus loves his apostles to the fullest extent and to the
very last moment of his life. He lays down his life for them and for us
and all out of love.
John’s Passover is celebrated two days earlier than that of the Last Supper
scenes in the Synoptic Gospels. It is he who is our Passover and Paschal
Lamb. Out of love he gives up his life for the world and all it contains.
The discourse we are listening to is his last will and testament to us and
to his intimate friends, the apostles. They too will be sent once his hour
is over. They will be sent in his name after the Resurrection, the
culmination of the Paschal Feast of Jesus and his friends. We learn from
them and from Jesus that we, too, are sent as apostles in our day. We take
strength from the discourse contained in chapters 13-17. It is the prayer
of Jesus that nourishes our faith and gives us the courage and boldness to
be witnesses to him and his saving message.
St. Paul gives us the concrete reality of carrying out his mission as an
apostle as we read about his first apostolic mission. He, Paul, is sent to
the Gentiles after having no success with his own people in the synagogues.
Paul becomes a light of revelation to the nations. This light continues in
our present moment and in the future.
“The Fourth Gospel offers few details about what Christian love consists
in. How shall we, I, you, flesh out this new commandment (agape) in
practice today?” (Fr. George W. MacRae, S.J.).