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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

May 14th: Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle
1st Reading (Acts 1:15-17.20-26): Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, «My brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. Judas was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it’; and: ‘May another take his office’. Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection».

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, «You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place». Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.
Responsorial Psalm: 112
R/. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
Praise, you servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord both now and forever.

From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised. High above all nations is the Lord; above the heavens is his glory.

Who is like the Lord, our God, who is enthroned on high and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?

He raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill he lifts up the poor to seat them with princes, with the princes of his own people.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:16): I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
Gospel text (Jn 15:9-17): Jesus said to his disciples: “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.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 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. 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.”

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete”

Fr. Josep VALL i Mundó (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Church remembers the day when the Apostles chose the disciple of Jesus who was to replace Judas Iscariot. In one of his homilies St. John Chrysostom quite rightly says: “When we are to opt for persons who must have a certain responsibility we may have to face certain rivalries or discussions.” This is why St. Peter “simply ignores the envy that might have arisen”, and leaves it up to chance and divine inspiration —thus, avoiding such possibility. And this Father of the Church goes on saying: “And it just so happens that quite often important decisions may be very upsetting.”

In today's Gospel, our Lord speaks to the Apostles of the joy they should have: that “my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (Jn 15:11). And, sure enough, a Christian, like Matthias, will happily live with a quiet joy if he assumes the various events of life from the grace of divine filiation; otherwise, he is bound to be carried away by false annoyances, foolish jealousies or some kind of prejudice or other. Joy and peace are always fruits of the exuberance of our apostolic commitment and of our struggle to become saints. They are the logical and supernatural outcome of love for God, and of a spirit of service towards our fellowmen.

Romano Guardini wrote: “The source of joy is to be found in a person's deeper intimacy… It is there where God resides. Then, joy widens and makes us glitter. And all that is beautiful can be perceived by us in all its brilliance.” When we feel unhappy we must know how to pray along with St. Thomas More: “Lord, give me a sense of humor and I will find happiness in life and profit for others.” And, let us not forget that St. Teresa of Avila also begged: “O Lord, save me from these sullen-faced saints, for a sad saint is a sorry saint.”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Starting from the realities that it knows, the divine discourse secretly puts in its heart a love that it did not know." (Saint Gregory the Great)

  • “The Christian vocation is this: to remain in the love of God. The love relationship between Him and the Father is the love relationship between Him and us.” (Francis)

  • “Jesus makes charity the new commandment (cf. Jn 13:34). By loving his own ‘to the end,’ (Jn 13:1), he makes manifest the Father's love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.’ (Jn 15:9). And again: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’ (Jn 15:12)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1823)