Homily delivered on the Feast of St Joseph for Gayndah community.

Year  C  2022

Jesus continues forming the community of his disciples even when he knows that his death is imminent. His giving them a new commandment is, according to John’s gospel, while they are together having enjoyed the last supper with him. During that meal he has done (yet again) the unthinkable or at least the unexpected. He has washed the feet of each of them, including Judas who after that, takes his leave to go to the authorities to arrange their capture of Jesus. The passion of Jesus begins on Thursday night!


The formation of the community is vital to the ongoing mission of Jesus. These men and women will make him and his teaching known throughout the world. They are to be recognisable as disciples of Jesus, the Nazarene Messiah. What will set them apart from others is the way they love one another.


Jesus has taught them about love before this. Love your neighbour as yourself. Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, blessing those who persecute you and praying for those who spread malicious lies about your because of your relationship to Christ. Love and care for others is not specific to Judaism or Christianity. Many other religions especially the oriental ones have similar teachings. What is “new” with this commandment (note it is a commandment not a suggestion) is that each disciple is to love others as Jesus loved them.


Immediately, the bar is as high as you could imagine. Each disciple, each of us, is to love as Jesus has loved us. This love is action flowing from commitment more than feeling. The word is used in a bewildering array of settings. People speak of loving pets, money, possessions, countries, resort settings, as well as friends, spouses, family members.


Jesus loved his friends and us by giving his life away. What we learn from is how he did that, how he gave his life and his death away. The life of Jesus was always doing what the Father willed. What was uppermost in the Father’s outlook was to restore the family made in the divine image and who rejected the Garden intimacy of Eden, to oneness with God. That is what the second reading today makes clear with the appearance of a new heaven and new earth, the appearance of city where all have the status of a first born. In the “city” all the dark aspects of our lives, the tears, sadness, cruelty, betrayal will be gone.

Our communities especially when we celebrate Eucharist are to give everyone who comes a taste of life in this city. What will touch people will be the way each of us love each other, not as we hope they will love us in return, but purely out of awareness of the way Jesus loves us. Christ is risen and with us and people will see that in the committed persevering way we seek constantly the well-being of others.