5TH WEEK OF EASTER
Psalter: Week 1 / (White/Red)
St. John I, pope & martyr
Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 10
Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
1st Reading: Acts 15:22-31
Then the apostles and elders, together with the whole Church, decided to choose representatives from among them, to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. These were Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers. They took with them the following letter:
”Greetings from the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the believers of non-Jewish birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We have heard, that some persons from among us have worried you with their discussions, and troubled your peace of mind. They were not appointed by us. But now, it has seemed right to us, in an assembly, to choose representatives, and to send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. We send you, then, Judas and Silas, who, themselves, will give you these instructions by word of mouth.
We, with the Holy Spirit, have decided not to put any other burden on you except what is necessary: You are to abstain from blood; from the meat of strangled animals; and from prohibited marriages. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
After saying goodbye, the messengers went to Antioch, where they assembled the community and handed them the letter. When they read the news, all were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.
Gospel: Jn 15:12-17
Jesus said to his disciples: ”This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you! There is no greater love than this, to give one‘s life for one‘s friends; and you are my friends, if you do what I command you.
”I shall not call you servants anymore, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead, I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father.
”You did not choose me; it was I who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This is my command, that you love one another.”
Loving is easy when it does not need much effort and stays on the level of feelings only. It is tested when such loving has a cost. Jesus identified the type of love that His disciples ought to extend to one another. It is a love that is unfazed even if the cost is to give one‘s life for one‘s friend. This selfless love is the new commandment of Jesus.
But why is it that Jesus imposed this commandment to His disciples It seemed to be an impossible task. We are naturally jealous of our own comfort and well-being. Our self-centeredness is not only about vanity. It sometimes is about survival. Perhaps the reason is because Jesus wants to share His very attitude to other people to His friends. He Himself showed them that this is possible. He walked His talk. And so Jesus tells His disciple to adhere to the Law of Love so that they will be known as His friends who shared His life during the end of time.
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
With permission from the EPISCOPAL COMMISION ON LITURGY of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
Readings and Reflections
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