“I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” (JN 15: 15-17)
This is part of our mission—keep on the road. Instead of looking for stability, comfort and a familiar environment, we are chosen and appointed “to go and bear fruit that will remain.” On the road we are never alone; Our Lord is always with us and always supports us, assists us and helps us to “bear fruit”; our strength and our effectiveness is not in our actions but in the measure of our love.
“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)
When we are humble, when we are “students” of the Holy Family’s Nazareth school, when we learn from them how to love, how to be gentle, how to respect, and how to make the examination of conscience to the right person, and when we love each other daily (!), we will be Masters of the Art of Love, world-class Masters.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters about this question.” (ACTS 15: 2)
Every moment in the Church’s history has had its own problems and questions. Ecclesia semper reformanda est (Latin for “the church must always be reformed”, often – as usual in Latin – shortened to Ecclesia semper reformanda) helps us to answer these questions. Also the “Domestic Church”—our marriages—need to focus on how to answer properly to all the different times and changes: when we are young and without children, when our children are small, or when there are more and more children 🙂
when our work doesn’t help to protect our relationships or when we are again alone in our homes. Every time needs an answer, and the Church will always remind us what to do—“love one another as I have loved you”—with gentleness, respect, as the most amazing giver of self, protecting daily time for us and the best listener.
“Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.” (ACTS 14: 19-20)
St. Paul reminded us on Sunday that: “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” He is a perfect example—“they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city.” The next day “he left with Barnabas for Derbe.” Never tired? Never persecuted? Never exhausted? Of course, many times he was. But he was always ready “to undergo many hardship to enter the kingdom of God.” And we have excuses for not practicing our marriage rituals or for not praying or not reading a Bible even 5 minutes.
“Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.” (JN 14: 23-24)
How amazing Our Lord created our hearts, able to love and able to live with God: “we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” Our prayer can be so simple; just close your eyes and talk to Him Who is within you. And we can really learn fast that prayer is less a thing to do—but more relationship, less action—more adoration.
“The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“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: 34-35)
“Love one another” is the first part of “a new commandment”; the second part is: “as I have loved you.” We should love one another, as Our Lord loves us. This is “how all will know that we are His disciples.”
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.” (ACTS 13: 45)
It would be so easy to reflect this reading from our perspective, looking with indignation at “the Jews”— how could they!? But these words are also about us; how often we reject truth, inspiration or good advice because our hearts “are filled with jealousy and with violent abuse.”
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“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.” (JN 14: 2-3)
We are nobody, we are weak, sinful and very limited creatures, but we are His creation, loved in our weakness, raised from our sins and able to love beyond limits; we are not only His creation, but we are also His children. Our Lord prepared “a place for us” in “His Father’s house, where there are many dwelling places,” and He wants us there, “so that where He is we also may be.”
“I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, ‘My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.’” (ACTS 13: 15)
Our Lord’s words are given to all of us. Parents have “a word of exhortation” for their children and friends for their friends. His word is powerful and can reach every heart; its strength doesn’t come from the ‘speaker’; it comes from Him.
“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)
“‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.” (ACTS 13: 2-13)
These two—“fasting and prayer”—are happy when together. Fasting helps us to be more dependent on Our Lord, being more grateful for all we receive, and prayer directs everything to Him.
“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” (Gospel Acclamation)