John’s gospel speaks about God’s love for the world. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. In this morning’s gospel reading Jesus speaks about the world’s hatred for him and for his followers. In Luke’s gospel Jesus calls on his disciples to love their enemies and to do good to those who hate them. The gospels suggest that Jesus was realistic about the hostility that would come his own way and the way of his followers. Yet, he wanted his followers to relate to the world not on the basis of how the world relates to them but on the basis of how God and Jesus relate to the world. In the gospel reading this morning Jesus says, ‘A servant is not greater than his master’.
That can be read in two ways. One way is, ‘if the master experienced hostility so will the servants’. The other way is, ‘if the master washed the feet of the servants, including the one who betrayed him, the servants must do likewise; they must reveal the love of God to others regardless of how they relate to them’. That saying of Jesus, ‘a servant is not greater than his master’ gives us much to ponder. It also brings home to us our need of the Holy Spirit, our dependence on the Holy Spirit, if we are to be like the master in every respect. Amen.
Fr. John Peter