“They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them, so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.” (ACTS 16: 6-8)
The Holy Spirit and “the Spirit of Jesus” are always with His Church, because evangelization, spreading the Good News and bringing people closer to God was, is and always will be the mission of Jesus Christ. We are His body, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, who serves in the same mission, but only Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer, and whoever goes to Heaven goes through Him with the Church as mediator.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” (JN 15: 15)
We are chosen by Jesus and we are called His “friends.” His friends know everything about His Father, “because He has told us everything He has heard from His Father.” The most significant element of being friends with Jesus is His life offered for our lives: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The cost of our friendship goes far, far beyond our imagination, and His love and friendship bring us back to the Father. We are chosen to be His children.
“I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (JN 15: 9-10)
We can’t even imagine how much we are loved: “as the Father loves me, so I also love you.” We will have all of eternity to learn and explore God’s love for us. Our Lord asks us only to “remain in His love.” His commandments are so clear: “love one another as I have loved you.”
“My sheep know my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (JN 15: 4-5)
All our activity and “fruits we should bear” comes from our relationship with Our Lord. The more we are connected, the more we are in love with Him, and the more fruit He can produce. We are “branches,” not the vine, and not only do we remain in Him, but He also loves to remain in us, “because without Him we can do nothing.”
“Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. “ (ACTS 14: 24-26)
Almost all his life, as the apostle of Jesus, Paul traveled, often accompanied by some of his coworkers. But Paul wasn’t a traveler, even traveling so much, but an apostle, “proclaiming the word,” always as he “had been commended to the grace of God,” focused on His will and spreading the Good News about God’s love for us and the hope we can have in Him.
“Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Beloved: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1P 5: 5-7)
We are really beloved children of God. He expects from us only to “clothe ourselves with humility,” which helps us to recognize the dignity of our brothers and us and trust “the mighty hand of God.” We are asked to “cast all our worries upon Him because He cares for us.”
“We proclaim Christ crucified; he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (JN 13: 33-35)
“Disciples” are recognized by only one thing—“all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” and the model for this love is also one: Our Lord—“as I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” His example was gentle, respectful, enduring, based on rituals, patient, creative, chaste and unconditional—“as I have loved you.”
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” (ACTS 13: 44)
The most beautiful way to gather together “almost the whole city” is “to hear the word of the Lord.” When we are focused on Him, when we listen to Him, when we come “to hear the word of the Lord,” immediately we are also united with others. God’s word unites us, brings us closer to each other and makes strangers into brothers living in one community. The word of the Lord makes us a community; remaining in His word makes us His disciples.
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” (JN 14: 1-4)
Such a comforting message: “in my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” Especially when we have a tendency to expect all people to have the same or similar places in heaven. Fortunately, Our Lord reminds us—“there are many dwelling places” in heaven. There is a home for martyrs and virgins, for believers and preachers, for priests and spouses, for fast and melancholics.
“I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” (JN 13: 16-17)
Whatever we do, we do in the name of the Father and His Son. We are sent to bring forth fruits, but our mission is not focused on what we can do, but on the message of the Father. We are chosen to remind our brothers and sisters that we are loved, that there is always hope, that God is greater than our sins, and that He only expects us to turn back to Him and ask Him for forgiveness
“Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.” (Gospel Acclamation)