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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday 5th of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 15:22-31): The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them:

«The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number who went out without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: ‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell’».

And so they were sent on their journey. Upon their arrival in Antioch they called the assembly together and delivered the letter. When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.
Responsorial Psalm: 56
R/. I will give you thanks among the peoples, o Lord.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast; I will sing and chant praise. Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn.

I will give thanks to you among the peoples, o Lord, I will chant your praise among the nations. For your mercy towers to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the skies. Be exalted above the heavens, o God; above all the earth be your glory!
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:15): Alleluia. I call you my friends, says the Lord; for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (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 any more, 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».

«This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you»

Fr. Carles ELÍAS i Cao (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, our Lord exhorts us to fraternal love: «Love one another as I have loved you» (Jn 15:12), that is to say, as you have seen me loving and you will still see me love. Jesus speaks to you as a friend, for He has told you that his Father calls you, that He wants you to become an apostle, and that He expects you to bear fruit, a fruit that is manifested through love. St. John Crysostom affirms: «If love would be spread all over, an infinite goodness would be born out of it».

To give love amounts to create life. Spouses know it well, for they love each other, they make a reciprocal donation and they assume the responsibility of becoming parents by accepting, at the same time, the abnegation and self-denial of their time and their own being in favour of those they must take care of, must protect, must educate and, in short, must form as persons. Missionaries know it too, when they offer their life for the Gospel, with the same Christian spirit of sacrifice and abnegation. And friars, priests and bishops also know it, and with them all of Jesus' disciples who commit themselves to our Savior.

A little before, Jesus already told you which the requirements for love and bearing fruit are: «Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit» (Jn 12:24). Jesus invites you to lose your life, to deliver it to Him without any fear, to willingly die, if need be, to be able to love your brother with Christ's love, with supernatural love. Jesus invites you to attain an operative, benefactor and concrete love; this is how apostle James understood it when he said: «Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead» (2:15-17).

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