In our Gospel today, Jesus and His disciples start to share the Passover meal or Last Supper together. Jesus knew that most of His disciples would betray, abandon or deny Him in the coming hours, yet He continues to teach them lessons of love and forgiveness. Verses 34 and 35 are omitted from the Gospel reading but are worth mentioning today. In these verses, Jesus said:
“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.”
This Gospel reminds us that we are often the most vulnerable to being hurt by the people closest to us. Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him and that Peter would deny Him but He continues to share with His disciples the message of God’s Love and prepares them for His coming departure.
There may be people in our lives that are just as predictable in their hurtful behavior, but Holy Week is a time to reflect on the example of unconditional love and forgiveness from our Lord’s passion and death. Just as the Love of God was revealed with the cross, there are probably many times in our lives when love was revealed in suffering.
As we head into a Holy Week during this difficult time, let us consider how Jesus responded to betrayal with love and forgiveness. Let us pray for the faith, hope and love we need to respond to everyone in our lives in the same Way.