Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

The light of the risen Lord purifies and strengthens us so that we can begin to do in Christ what Christ does for us, that is, to love those who wrong us and to forgive them, thereby setting them free to love anew. This is not something that we are capable of without Christ’s help, and even when we are capable of it, it is Christ who is forgiving and setting free in and through us. But if the grace of the resurrection now enables us to love as Jesus loves us in the passion, then it means that we can now see the passion with new eyes in the light of the resurrection. Loving, grateful eyes of faith will now recognize Christ’s freedom to love in the passion, and will ask for the grace of this freedom to love with a liberating, forgiving love, recognizing that whatever hardship living out this love this may bring us cannot even begin to compare with hardship that Christ freely bears in a love that desires our genuine freedom.

Today’s gospel (Jn 13:16-20) ends with what Ignatius of Loyola would recognize to be a great promise. Ignatius proposes that those who share in Christ’s sufferings will also share in his glory (SpEx 95). Let us not think that we are “above” the Lord’s self-gift, for “no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him” (Jn 13:16). Irenaeus says, “the glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God” (AH, 4, 20, 7). We are God’s glory when we become a “vision of God,” loving as God loves. When we do so, God works through us to set others free as we have been set free, since, “whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me” (Jn 13:20). The glory that we share with God is not only the glory of being set free to love even through suffering, but the even greater glory that sets other people free through our forgiving love and offers them the life of love that God has given us.

May 11th, 2017