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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sixth Sunday of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 10:25-26.34-35.44-48): When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, «Get up. I myself am also a human being». Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, «In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him». While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, «Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?». He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Responsorial Psalm: 97
R/. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.

The Lord has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.
2nd Reading (1Jn 4:7-10): Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:23): Alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 15,9-17): Jesus said to his disciples: «As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

»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».

«I have called you friends»

+ Fr. Francesc CATARINEU i Vilageliu (Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we celebrate the last Sunday before the solemnities of the Ascension and the Pentecost that close the Easter celebrations. If all through these Sundays the resurrected Jesus has appeared before us as the Good Shepherd and as the vine which we have to be a part of, as its branches are, today his Heart is open wide for us.

Certainly, in his Heart we can only find love. What constitutes God's deepest mystery is that He is Love. Whatever He has done from his Creation to his redemption through Christ is because of love. Whatever He is expecting from us in response to his actions is just love. This is why his words resound today: «Remain in my love» (Jn 15:9). Love requests reciprocity, it is like having a dialogue that makes us reciprocate with a growing love to his first love.

A fruit of love is joy: «I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete» (Jn 15:11). If our life does not reflect the joy of believing, if we are overwhelmed by our own frustrations and do not realize the Lord is also next to us, consoling us, it is because we do not know Jesus sufficiently well.

God always keeps the initiative. He expressly says so when He affirms «it was I who chose you» (Jn 15:16). We may feel tempted to think it is us who have chosen him, but we have done nothing but answering his call. He has freely chosen us to be his friends: «I shall not call you servants (…). Instead I have called you friends» (Jn 15:15).

In the beginning, God spoke to Adam as a friend speaks to his friend. Christ, the new Adam, has recovered for us not only the previous friendship, but also our intimacy with God, inasmuch as God is Love.

It can all be summarized by saying just this word: “Love”. St. Augustine reminds us so: «The good Master recommends us quite often that charity is the only possible commandment. Without charity all the other good qualities mean nothing. Charity, in fact, leads man necessarily to all the other virtues that make him good».