New Commandment

“Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:31-33a

5th Easter Sunday

 Ecclesiastes 1:9 says “There is nothing new under the sun.” Somehow this is true. Fashion for instance repeats itself. What was is in vogue before like slim fit jeans is once again fashionable. Even old love songs of the grandfathers become a hit among young teenagers. In fact some catchy tunes nowadays are very similar to some old songs.

Yet in the Book of Revelation we are told of new things coming. St. John saw a new heavens and a new earth. And he heard the One who sat on the throne spoke “I will make all things new”.

In the gospel too Jesus at the last Supper told His apostles that He was giving them as new commandment which is “Love one another as I have loved you”.    

What is really new in this commandment of love? The golden rule of Jesus is actually a quote from Tobit. Tobit 4:15 says, “Do not do to anyone what you yourself hate.” In fact Confucius said it also centuries before Christ half across the globe in ancient China. Five centuries before Christ, Confucius set forth his own Golden Rule: “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.”

What makes the commandment of Jesus new is the added clause “as I have loved you”. Jesus gave this new command at the last supper after He had washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus whom the apostles called their master did for them the task reserved for a servant. This is new!

Later on Jesus would sacrificed Himself on the cross in place of His enemies to give example to what He had told before “Love your enemies”. This is also new!

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