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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
1st Reading (Acts 5:27-33): When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them: «We gave you strict orders did we not, to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us». But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, «We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him». When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
Responsorial Psalm: 33
R/. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Taste and see how good the Lord is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers him.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 20:29): Alleluia. You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe! Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 3:31-36): The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life”

Fr. Melcior QUEROL i Solà (Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel invites us to cease being so “worldly”, to stop being men who can only speak about mundane things, to speak and behave instead as “The one who comes from above”(Jn 3:31), who is Jesus. In this text we see —once more— that in evangelic radicalism there is no happy medium. We must always strive to follow God's thinking, endeavor to share Christ's feelings and aim at seeing men and their circumstances with the same spirit of the Word made flesh. If we behave as “He who comes from above” we shall discover the multitude of positive things happening all the time around us, for God's love is a continued action in favor of man. If we come from above we shall love everybody without exception, and our life will be an open invitation for others to do the same.

“The one who comes from above” (Jn 3:31). This is why He can be so helpful to every man and woman where they need help; furthermore “the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what He has seen and heard” (Jn 3:32). And His service costs nothing. This attitude of service without expecting anything in return, without needing a reply from others, creates a profoundly human and respectful ambiance towards each person's free will; this is a contagious attitude that freely impels others to respond and behave in very much the same way.

Service and testimony always go together, they identify one another. Our world needs authenticity: and what can be more authentic than God's words? What is there more authentic than He who “does not ration his gift of the Spirit” (Jn 3:34)? This is why “Whoever does accept His testimony certifies that God is trustworthy” (Jn 3:33).

“Believing in the Son” means to have eternal life; it also means that Judgement Day is not hanging over believers because they have already been judged and received a favorable sentence; on the other hand, “whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him” (Jn 3:36)... until he believes.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and satisfying than God’s majesty? The radiance of the divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe.” (Saint Basil the Great)

  • “Obedience, often leads us down a path which isn’t the one we think it should be: there is another, the obedience of Jesus who says to the Father in the Mount of Olives: ‘Thy will be done’.” (Francis)

  • “Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. Since ‘without faith it is impossible to please (God)’ (Heb 11:6) and to attain to the fellowship of his sons (…).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 161)