“When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’” (Jn 13: 31-35)
There is so much to contemplate, on this Holy and Great Thursday, the day of the Lord’s Mystical Supper, at which He establishes a “new covenant” with us (Mk 14: 24), and also foretells Peter’s denial of Him (Jn 13: 38); at which He washes the feet of His disciples, commanding them to do likewise for one another (Jn 13), while they, nonetheless, proceed to engage in a “dispute among themselves, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (Lk 22: 24). It’s also on Thursday evening that our Lord prays to the Father that “this cup” be taken from Him, while His disciples can’t manage to stay awake to pray with Him (Lk 22: 45-46); and that He is arrested by the religious authorities of His people, having been treacherously kissed by one of His own, Judas (Mt 26: 49).
As our One-and-Only Lord walks toward His passion on this Thursday, fully cognizant of our human weakness, treachery, envy, and death-bringing rejection, surrounding Him on this day, He does not give up on us. On this dark day, He not only institutes with us “a new covenant” in His blood (Lk 22: 20); He also gives us “a new commandment,” that we love one another. Because He sees in us “new” potential, in communion with Him, and in the “new” life He is about to bring us, in His upcoming resurrection. He believes that we can both live, and love, in the “new” Way that is He. Thank You, Lord, for offering Yourself to us, and believing in us always, – even on this day, when we did not believe in You.