Cast your mind in retrospect to the event of the Transfiguration of our Lord where the three Apostles caught a privileged glimpse of the Glorified Jesus as he conversed with Moses and Elijah, the lawgiver and the greatest of the prophets. On that particular occasion, the presence of Moses confirmed the discernment of the Apostolic trio, that Christ is the Divine Lawgiver. Jesus exercised this peculiar prerogative at the Last Supper after He revolutionized leadership by washing the feet of His disciples, and after Judas Iscariot had sneaked out to arrange His betrayal. Jesus viewed His impending passion as Divine glorification and chose this solemn moment to legislate “a new commandment.” “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another.”
The command to love one another by itself is not new. The Old Testament already decreed one to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). What is new is the standard for measuring this love. Jesus rendered obsolete the demand to love “as you love yourself” and replaced it with a new standard: “as I have loved you.” This new standard is so revolutionary that it makes the commandment new. We are now required to attempt a more perfect form of love, loving beyond the ordinary standard modeled on self love, and instead, reach for the celestial standard of loving as Christ selflessly, sacrificially and unconditionally loves us. Christ’s Divine, sacrificial and selfless love is the new standard of love, the standard that becomes our necessary means of identification. It is through this love of each other that we will be identified as disciples of Jesus. Anything other than this would at best be pseudo discipleship. Thus, true discipleship transcends mere verbal profession of articles of faith. It is, as a matter of necessity, to be concreatised in visible and actual love that is consistent with the example of Jesus Christ. The disciple shows his belief in Jesus by loving others, forgiving their mistakes, correcting with deliberate kindness their errors and habitually responding to the needs of others with compassion and empathy as Jesus would do.
May we be granted Grace to believe, understand and practice this commandment of love as our individual and communal token of gratitude to Christ our Redeemer and model, who came to reveal to us the Father’s perfect love and who showed us exactly how much we ought to love by taking our place on the cross even when we were not yet friends of God.
Please be kind and may God bless you.
Fr. ManassehBACK TO LIST