Because today’s reading from the last supper discourse comes so near the end of Jesus’ life, it holds a privileged place in John’s gospel. Jesus doesn’t have much time left; he can’t waste his breath on trivia. So what he chooses must be absolutely central to his message. We, in turn, should hold these words in our hearts.
The shadow of death hangs over Jesus’ head as it does for all of us.
He addresses one of the hardest things in any relationship—that we will someday say a final goodbye as he is saying now. Even before that, we sometimes fail ea other; we betray those we love most. In the rush of events or too much pressure or not enough time, we miss each other’s shining radiance.
But despite those failures, God still chooses to make God’s dwelling place with us. Other than college dorm or summer camp, we rarely dwell with strangers. Usually, we live with those we love most. GOD’s wanting to dwell with us should allay our anxieties about our failures.
As Jesus speaks, the “beloved disciple” leans against his chest. So John suggests, the only way we can see the world accurately is from that position: leaning on Jesus’ heart. John creates a deliberate parallel: just as Jesus knows God’s secrets, hears God’s heart beat, so we humans can also enjoy that privileged place. Thus, our feeble loving is joined to Jesus’ all-powerful love to make it wonderfully fruitful.