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Fourth Sunday of Easter Jn 13/31-33
Catholic Homilies
May 6th 2001

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Fourth Sunday of Easter Jn 13/31-33


John's Gospel has a heavy overlay of mystical imagery. Yet today's brief gospel seems clear and simple enough. However, it's revelation of the great tenderness of Jesus - undoubtedly based on clear historical memories in the tradition - is richly mystical. All will know that we are followers of Jesus by the love we have for one another. This is not a prediction which has yet
been fulfilled.

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Once upon a time there was a sergeant in the marines who was the senior enlisted man in his platoon. One day his outfit was ambushed and pinned down by enemy fire. The lieutenant in command was badly wounded as were many of the men. The sergeant took over and extricated the men from the trap, though he himself was wounded twice. He went back by himself to carry out the wounded commanding officer. Miraculously every man in the platoon survived, even the wounded lieutenant. Later the men said that if it were not for the incredible bravery of the sergeant they all would have been killed. He was always like a mother and a father to us, they said. He was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but did not receive it. However, he did receive the DFC. He never wore the medal because he said the lives of his men were more important than any medal. Later when he had children of his own, he loved
them like a mother as well as a father. His wife said that during the war he had learned how to be tender. Of course people spit on him when he came home and told him that it served him right that he had to limp all his life.

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