[Homily. ADDU Livestreamed Mass. 11 May 2020]
Three days ago, Fr. Mike Pineda pointed out that we are now reading from the “Book of Glory” in the Gospel according to St. John.
John is divided into four parts. The Prologue. The Book of Signs. The Book of Glory (Jn 13:1 – Jn 20:31) and an Epilogue.
The Book of Glory is about God’s glory. How do you define God’s “glory”? You can’t. You can’t define God’s glory like you can define a circle or a box. You can only, as it were, point to God’s glory.
The Glory of God
Some point to it when they marvel at a sunrise. In the Old Testament, the glory of God is often associated with the wonders of God’s creation: the majestic mountains, the rushing rivers, the bountiful forests. Even the creation of man and woman in God’s image and likeness, knowing and loving in freedom, manifests the glory of God, his or her Creator.
In John’s Book of Glory John points to the glory of God. The glory of God is this: Jesus Christ, the incarnated Word of God, knowing where he came from, from the Father, and knowing where he was going, back to the Father, loves his own – and loves them to the end.
This is the glory of God: that Jesus stoops down and washes the feet of his disciples; that he takes on the role of a slave to ennoble our lives with an enduring example of humble service!
This is the glory of God: that he makes his love for his own subject to betrayal; that he makes his love for his own subject to denial and abandonment; that he respects ultimately the freedom of his own to accept or reject him, to believe in him and love him or to spurn him and walk away from him.
This is the glory of God: that at the moment of betrayal and abandonment, taking on the infidelity and sin of us all, he says: “Now the Son of man is glorified, and God is glorified in him” (Jn 13:31). Now the Love of God will shine in the Love of the Son of man and prevail. That even in abandonment and betrayal the Son of man would continue loving his own and obeying the Father.
This is the glory of the son of Man, this is how God is glorified in him: That loving his own, perfectly expressing the Love of his Father for his own, he embraces his passion and crucifixion, but in so doing is raised up and exalted. He suffers, dies and is resurrected. Resurrected, he appears to his own bringing them joy and peace. So that in the end of the Book of Glory, Thomas, the doubter, proclaims, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28)
This is the glory of God: the Son of Man, the Word, accomplishes His will in loving his own till the end.
A Holy Home Within
Within this Book of Glory, we have our Gospel reading for today. Jesus, who loved his own till the end, says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him” (Jn 14:23). He only repeats what he said earlier, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me.” (Jn 14:21a). What commandment? Jesus says later, “This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). “And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (Jn 14:21b). Now Jesus says rather remarkably, rather astonishingly, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our home within him” (Jn 14:23)
Yesterday, we heard that Jesus goes away to prepare a home for us in his Father’s mansion. Fr. Ogie Cabayao pointed our that in our experience it is not easy to prepare a home. But Jesus does. He pays the price of this home for us. And when he does he says, “I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (Jn 14:3).
Now Jesus says: The Father and Jesus whose glory is shown in washing the feet of his disciples, in his passion, death and resurrection, will make their home within him or her who believes. The Father, whose love for us is experienced in Jesus peering into our hearts from his Cross, and Jesus, who breaks bread and says, “Take and eat,” and who sheds his blood and says, “Take and drink, I empty myself for you,” come to make their home within us.
Are we even aware of that? That the Father and the Son dwell within us? What can that mean?
Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, “I no longer life, but Christ lives within me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.: (Gal 2:20). I no longer live but Christ lives within me, even as Christ continues to say, “The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:30). “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (Jn 14:11).
What can this mean for our lives?
From Within Glorify God
The glory of God, the washing of the feet, the suffering, death, and exaltation of the Lord lives within me, is home within me, meaning, it is this glory that from within accepts me unconditionally, encourages me, consoles me, and gives me life and meaning.
It is in this glory that I know myself loved to the end. It is in this glory that I know myself lifted up to new life. It is in this new life that I now freely give glory to God in washing others’ feet as he did, in emptying my life in service and healing for others as he did, in bringing joy and peace to others as he did. The glory of my new life, I know, is – from the glory of God within me – to glorify God, to live unto the greater glory of God.
The Father and the Son make their home within us, that we may make the world a home in God’s love.