Whenever the great love commandment occurs for the Sunday readings, I have always found it to be a real challenge, because the commandment itself says it all, and what more could I possibly add to it. In real life practice, it feels further overwhelming to actualize in life. It seems more a high ideal than down to earth. Jesus goes on at the Last Supper to add to this by saying, “as I have loved you.” This means sacrificial, αγανπη love! In a narcissistic culture of entitlement, this is difficult.

Note that Judas has just left the room. John proclaims “Now . . .” because everything is set in an inexorable motion; there’s no way out and no turning back but for the cross when Jesus will be lifted up. That first word, “now”, is very forceful, and in the Gospel of John, all the signs have led up to this pivotal moment. Now is decisive. Whenever we make major life decisions, we realize the gravity, and we make decisions, over most of which we only imagine ourselves to have any control. Here Jesus gives himself over to a reality, the Father, which in the freedom of the love in and of the trinity will is shared absolutely.

“This is how all will know that you are my disciples . . .” means that our love in communion and community is the impetus of evangelization. People desire to enter this powerful sort of belonging and meaning. What are our failures and successes at this sort of love?

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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