The feast of the Ascension is approaching, and today we hear a new commandment from Jesus. We are invited to join and associate this teaching, with the teaching of Jesus on Holy Thursday. No one can forget it, for it was the source of their faith in the risen Jesus, a memory for eternity. He loved them so much, he wanted to love them to the end. In the Eucharist we see clearly the body given and the blood shed, an act of love, a love par excellence.
Today, the disciples will discover a newness in the life of the Church, strangers will receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, the same grace received by the Apostles. In the Christian faith, there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. Why should there be no difference? It is God who acts in these events. "If Peter is in Cornelius' house today, it is not a human initiative. It is God who has done everything to bring Peter to this place and to discover a new stage of the Lord's Church. Peter learned by his obedience to his Master.
It is Jesus who teaches us to love one another, as his Father loved him and as Jesus loved his Father. This loving relationship of a Father and a son will be a model for us all. The fidelity of this Son, even to the point of dying on the cross, will be an example for his disciples and will be for so many couples who give themselves generously in family life. What a joy to hear this "I love you and may my joy be complet in you" in all sincerity!
How can we say it in all sincerity to someone who has hurt us and continues to do so? Or to someone who is against us or refuses us? It is possible, if we remain in Jesus and in his love. As Jesus received this love from his Father in humility, we must receive this love from Jesus, in all sincerity, the love that Jesus expressed on the cross. For you Lord, I would do it. It is not because the other person has deserved it, but the Lord who lives in him or her has deserved it. I can't refuse the Lord, His due love and compassion that He has generousely bestowed on me. For you, Lord, I will lay down my life. I will remain faithful to this commandment of love.
The newness of this commandment of love is found in the way Jesus loved us. I no longer call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; I call you my friends. First of all, Jesus did not cling to his divinity when he established a relationship of friendship with his disciples. He was a man par excellence, a man capable of revealing and forgiving everything, even on the cross. By looking at Jesus on the cross, the Lord's disciples were renewed and were able to forgive everything. In our relationships we must never forget the cross of Jesus. I have chosen you and raised you up. In baptism we participate in this elevation from an ordinary man to a divine person, and we become the beloved of the Father. He has made known to us his Father and his plan, the salvation of the world. Since we have a God who dwells in us and who is a God of love, we are called by this dwelling of God to be the visible images of this love for our brothers and sisters. Let us be lovers of God and be friends of Jesus, Amen.