We have been taught about Eternal Life since our Cathecism prior to First Communion. Not only that, we have been reminded in an application in corporate trainings to “Begin with the End in Mind”. In this Sunday’s Gospel (Jn. 13: 31-33a, 34-35) St. John brought us back to that point during the Last Supper where Judas just left them. The Lord was giving like a farewell address, preaching to them the coming time when He will leave them. The Lord is painting a beautiful picture of what He will be after His Passion and Suffering,
is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.
If God is glorified in Him,
God will also glorify Him in Himself,
and God will glorify Him at once.”
Jesus reminded them of their identity as Christ’s followers,
My children, I will be with you only a little while
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.”
Just a few days ago, my favorite team achieved a milestone in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association, its fifth straight championship in the Philippine Cup. No other team has achieved that in the conference previously called the All-Filipino Conference. It wasn’t easy as the team has to overcome severe trials and obstacles, going as far back to the second year, when they have to face a 0-3 deficit and convert it into a 4-3 series win. What they cited as one of the reasons for getting the trophy is because they “care and support each other” and that they “don’t blame each other for the mistakes that their teammates commit in the course of the game.” This team mentioned that the most recent championship series is by far the hardest among the five finals series they’ve played. When the boat is rocked your capability as a team is tested; teams that fold up are just ordinary ones, while those that survive become great teams. In the course of the game, even if the score you have to overcome is so huge, if you’re a great team, you’ll still find ways to win. You can do that because everyone sticks together as a team, no matter what.
Similarly, as Christians, we are to demonstrate that love, care and support amongst each other. It is to be our identity as followers of Christ. Take a look at what happened before these verses: “…Judas had left them.” He wasn’t simply leaving; he was going to fulfill his plan to betray his Master. For Jesus, it must have been so devastating and unfortunate that one of your followers gave you up for thirty pieces of silver. But Jesus responded differently, because He knew the result of that betrayal. Because of that treachery, Jesus will suffer, die on the cross, but will rise triumphantly. He didn’t just look at the pain that He will be going through, but looked up to Heaven and all that could be achieved through His saving passion and death. Jesus knew the end of the story!
For us then, it is a good reminder that if done with prayerful intention, there is joy in suffering. It is a means to purify and to prepare us for the rewards waiting in Heaven when we meet the Savior someday.
In the First Reading (Acts 14: 21-27), Paul and Barnabas strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
As we go on our loving and caring pilgrimage, there will be so many hardships and obstacles that it’ll be easier to give up rather than move onwards. But for as long as we see “the end of our story” we will endure to make that story happen. It’ll be worth going and continuing on. Loving one another will make life better; when we have the love of God in our hearts certainly suffering would make life a more joyful experience. For St. John has assured Christ’s followers,
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” (Second Reading Rev. 21: 1-5a)
Let us pray then for humility to see through the difficulties we encounter as an opportunity to experience God’s love and mercy.
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13: 34)