The gospel passage we have just heard occurs immediately after the moment when Judas has left the Upper Room, on his way to speak with the chief priests in order to betray Jesus (cf Mt 26:14-16). Speaking to the other disciples, Jesus said: Now the Son of Man has been glorified
(Jn 13:31). It might seem strange to think that Jesus - the Son of Man - was glorified in the act of betrayal. The usual image portrayed by the word glorify is about placing our focus on someone, making a big deal out of them, usually in a good and loving way, and yet Jesus says that he has been glorified in the act of betrayal.
In order to understand the truth of this statement, we need to realize that if Judas had not betrayed Jesus, he would not have been arrested, he would not have suffered, he would not have been crucified, he would not have died - not at that particular moment - and he would not have risen at that moment either. However, this was the reason for which God had sent him: in order to show us the extent of our God's love for us. We need to be reminded of this truth, over and over again: it was in his surrender, in his acceptance of human suffering and in his passage through the doorway of physical death that Jesus glorified God. In this ultimate act of humility, Jesus accomplished the mission for which he was sent.
You and I have also been entrusted with the mission of glorifying God. We do this every day when we do what Jesus asked us to do. In those final hours, while he was awaiting Judas' arrival, Jesus told the other disciples: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another
(Jn 13:34). This same commandment has also been entrusted to us. Like Jesus, we are all called to glorify the Lord, and we do this by loving one other.
The Acts of the Apostles tell the story of how the disciples did their very best to live out this commandment. In today's first reading, we hear a part of the adventure that Paul and Barnabas travelled to many different places, strengthening the souls of the disciples
and encouraging them to continue in the faith
(Acts 14:22). These two followers of the Way had been convinced of God's love for them, and it was this sense of being loved that energized them and drove them to share the joy that they had come to know with others they met along the way.
Even today, the love of God continues to be offered to us because Jesus' gift of self-sacrifice was given once for all time. Because Jesus glorified God in this way, we too can glorify God by loving one another. How beautiful it is to see a community of people who joyfully give of themselves out of love for others, with no thought at all for any measure of reward or recognition!
Loving one another is not always easy. We are far too often made aware of faults and failings, but the more that we strive to look beyond the limits of others, the more we strive every day to love others unconditionally, the more we will contribute to bringing about the realization of the new heaven and the new earth
that is described in the book of Revelation (Rev 21:1). The holy city, the new Jerusalem
(Rev 1:2), does not only exist in a vision; it is meant to exist right here, in our midst, and each of us can contribute to the building up of this reality if we try every day to love one another and to glorify God.