Gospel Meditation for the 5th Sunday of Easter

by Fr. Armando

When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now 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. 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.” (John 13:31–35)

Petition: Through you Jesus, with you and in you, to you oh God and Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours forever and ever. Jesus, make my life a manifestation of your glory, please help me to do all things for the greater glory of God.
The glory of God is the goal of our creation. The universe and everything and individual in it, the whole cosmos, is created for the glory of God. Scripture and tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God” (Dei Filius, can. § 5: DS 3025). St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it” (In II Sent. I, 2, 2, 1), for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: “Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

The First Vatican Council explains:

This one, true God, of his own goodness and “almighty power,” not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel “and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal…”

The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:5–6) for “the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man’s life is the vision of God: if God’s revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word’s manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God” (St. Irenaeus). The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become ‘all in all,’ thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude” (cf. 1 Cor15:28, CCC 293–294).

The word “glory” means a clear manifestation and clear knowledge of beauty, power, goodness and magnificence accompanied with praise or thankfulness. Jesus came to manifest the glory of God. The glory of God is the love of God; God is Love, and His glory is His Being, which is Love.
I knew a holy sister, Sister Francisca, who gave me a lesson on the subject: What is the glory of God? Sister Francisca was a holy woman who belonged to and was a former Superior of the Religious Congregation of Sisters, Servants of Jesus, who live and work at the Cotolengo del Padre Alegre (Barcelona, Spain). This institution takes care of the incurable sick and the truly poor. The sisters who run this institution live totally from Divine Providence; they do not request subsidies and do not ask for anything, nor do they accept anything that would be a result of a request. They just desire to live, “hanging” from God, under the protection of His Providence, recognizing that He knows what we need.

During the time of my novitiate, I went to the institution for a month and one of my tasks was to provide nourishment for a man of about thirty years of age who was unable to do anything; he was unable to talk, or walk, etc. One day, Sister Francisca approached me asking, “Do you know why this man is like he is?” I looked at her with a questioning face and just kept silent. She asked me another question, “Do you remember the passage where Christ was walking with the Disciples when they saw a sick man and they asked Him, ‘What was the sin of this man’s parents,’ and Jesus, answered them that neither he nor his parents had sinned to cause his duress, but this man is this way so that the glory of God might be displayed in him? And then she told me, “This is the reason that Juan (the name of the helpless man who I was helping) is the way he is, for the glory of God.” I continued looking at her with a questioning gaze, and she continued: “Do you know what the glory of God is?” I was silent. “The glory of God is love. This man here with his helplessness, with his propensity for doing nothing, is here for generating love, compassion and tenderness. Everyone who approaches him, Christian or not, believer or not, has their heart moved with compassion to serve him. This is the reason Juan is here, for the glory of God. And the glory of God is love.”

For many years, this holy woman has been serving the poorest of the poor, those disdained by society, but she truly knows God and his Glory.
This is what Jesus is telling us in this Gospel reading: Jesus is glorified by love and the Father is glorified in Him, by love, by the Holy Spirit.

Petition: O my God, You love me more than I love myself, more than I can love myself; and with this love that You continue to give me, You also command me to love others; please my Lord and God, You who are an ocean of love, tenderness and mercy, send me that love from Your divine heart that I may gain strength through You for my own selfishness and weakness of heart and so that I may love others as You love me. Father, give me love! Please, give me love! Life of my soul, give me love, so that I can love as You love us.

We are called to act as Disciples of Jesus, in the way we love each other. In Christian life, love is everything. It is not that romantic selfish feeling that remains always a “narcissistic love”, but true love, which is a love of friendship, a love that wants us to give our life for the good of all, and grow in holiness as a friend of the Beloved. “By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and therefore we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 Jn. 3:16). The one who loves wants to serve the loved one. Love is humble, it never remains in one and it is open to others. God could have remained close in His infinite fullness, happiness and intimacy, but because of love, He opened up to others, to give and to share with them his Divine Life, his Eternal Life of Love and Beatitude.

Faith is for hope, and faith and hope are both for charity. Charity is loving God with all my heart, all my strength, all my being and all my soul and loving my neighbor as myself. I love myself by loving God with all my heart, so if I love my neighbor what I want for him is the best, true fullness. Therefore when I love my neighbor, I also want union with God, that is His fullness and Holiness and His happiness simultaneously.

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them” (1 Jn. 4:7, 16).

In Christian life all is from love and for love: “The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love” (CCC 25).

Love comes from God. He is the Source and Fountain of love; without Him there is no real love. There are emotions, feelings, affections, dependences codependences, sex, passions, etc., all of which are for trying to run away from our own solitude and loneliness; trying to fill our interior void with attachments but at the end there is no love, no real love, love which is coming from God. “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:9–11).

Love is the major reason for prayer: we need love. We need love for everything; truly loving others, for giving of ourselves as Jesus does for us at every Eucharist, with generosity, fidelity, joy and compassion, embracing and conquering crosses of love with peace and patience.

Close your eyes and from the depth of your heart adore and glorify with reverence and humility, the Holy Trinity who has put his indwelling within you in the innermost center of your soul. The God Tridium in Person and One in his Divine Nature is more intimate to you than your own intimacy.

Try recognizing the presence of God within you, as if you were in eternity (time no longer exists), and do so with all your being and soul, with an adoring and wondering attitude.

Slowly and from your innermost being, repeat the following: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever.”