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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
1st Reading (Acts 15:7-21): After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters, «My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. Why, then, are you now putting God to the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they».

The whole assembly fell silent, and they listened while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them. After they had fallen silent, James responded, «My brothers, listen to me. Symeon has described how God first concerned himself with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name. The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written: After this I shall return and rebuild the fallen hut of David; from its ruins I shall rebuild it and raise it up again, so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord, even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked. Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things, known from of old. It is my judgment, therefore, that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood. For Moses, for generations now, has had those who proclaim him in every town, as he has been read in the synagogues every Sabbath».
Responsorial Psalm: 95
R/. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. Sing to the Lord; bless his name.

Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

Say among the nations: The Lord is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:27): Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 15:9-11): 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”.

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you"

Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés (Tarragona, Spain)

Today, we hear again the intimate confidence Jesus had last Holy Thursday: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you” (Jn 15:9). The Father's love for the Son is immense, tender, dear. We can read it in the Book of Proverbs, when He affirms that long before initiating His deeds “then was I beside him as artisan; I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while” (Pr 8:30). This is how He loves us and, prophetically announcing it in the same book, He adds: “Playing over the whole of his earth, having my delight with human beings.” (Pr 8:31).

The Father loves the Son, and Jesus tells us so: “And He that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (Jn 8:29). The Father loudly proclaimed it in the Jordan, when He says: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mk 1:11) and later, on Mount Tabor: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” (Mk 9:7).

Jesus has replied, “Abbà”, Father! Now He reveals to us, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” And what shall we do? To indeed stay by His love, to abide by His commandments, to love His Father's Will. Is this not the example He gives us? “I always keep my Father's commandments and remain in his love.”

But we, who are weak, fickle, cowards and —why not just admit it— even wicked at times, shall we then lose His friendship forever? No, He will not allow us to be tempted well beyond our own abilities! And, if we ever fail to abide by His commandments, let us ask Him for the grace of quickly coming back to Him, as the prodigal son to the Father's house. And to be able to receive the Sacrament of Penance and be forgiven for our sins. “I love you” —Jesus tells us—. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “O my God, Trinity whom I adore, grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, wholly and entirely, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.” (Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity)

  • “God can transform into love even the burdensome and oppressive aspects of our lives. It is important that we ‘abide’ in Christ, in the vine.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: ‘Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love’ (Jn 15:9-10).” (Catechism Of the Catholic Church, Nº 1824)