When we were still in school, one of the frequent sad moments in our family happen when we the children leave home on Sundays to go to our grandparents’ home, or in boarding house when we’re in high school and college. Sundays during the school year were always ”goodbye” days, and were always something we didn’t exactly look forward to. Before leaving, our parents would always remind us to study and work hard, and to be obedient to our teachers and elders, among others.
The same theme is shared, as knowing that He’s leaving His disciples soon, He made sure that they care for one another by saying to them,
“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.” (Jn. 13: 33-35)
Jesus taught them this because He wants this to define who they are as Jesus followers. He reminds us that the Christian life is not shaped by the absence of Jesus’ but by God’s abiding presence; Jesus has to assure them in order to overcome their anxieties about His absence. He should inculcate in their minds that they should be hopeful as the seeds of a bright future shaped by love is held in their hands. They are to be the bearers of the Good News to the ends of the earth.
Similarly, as Christ’s followers, we are to show love for one another, especially for our families and neighbors. The spirit of caring and giving should be like Jesus to His disciples, or like parents to their children. Furthermore, we are called to expand that love we normally give to family and friends, to our neighbors and even enemies. In order to follow Christ, we are to go beyond the boundaries of our families. To give us the courage in our difficulties, we are exhorted to remain faithful, to persevere, as “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14: 22).
Lord God, give us the strength to remain faithful to you, as the road is narrow and with lots of difficulties and challenges. Teach us to love you and our neighbors as you have loved us even more.