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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sixth Sunday of Easter (C)
1st Reading (Acts 15:1-2.22-29): Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, «Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved». Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. The apostles and elders, 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 elders, 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’».
Responsorial Psalm: 66
R/. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.

May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide.

May the peoples praise you, o God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
2nd Reading (Rev 21:10-14.21-23): The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.
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 14:23-29): Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him”

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

Today, before the celebration of the Ascension and Whitsun, we read once more the words of the so called sermon of the Last Supper, where we should see the different ways to present a unique message, insofar as it all emanates from the blessed union of Christ with the Father and from God's will to associate us closely to this mystery of love.

One day, St. Therese of the Child Jesus was offered several gifts for her to choose one but quite decidedly, despite her youth, she said “I choose everything!” When she grew older she realized that choosing everything actually meant desiring to be love and devotion in the Church, for a body without love would be totally meaningless. The mystery of God's love, is a concrete, personal love incarnated within the Son Jesus, who gives us everything: Himself, his life and his deeds are the best and clearer God's message to us.

From this love encompassing everything is where “peace” is born from. A word that, today, we all dream about: we want “peace” but alarm and violence surround us. Peace will only be achieved if we turn towards Jesus, as He gives us his peace as a fruit of his total love. Though He does not give it as the world does (cf. Jn 14:27), as the peace bestowed by Jesus is not made of calm unconcern, but just the opposite: of a solidarity that becomes brotherhood; of a capacity to take a look at ourselves and at others with new eyes, as the Lord does, and thus, forgives us. A great serenity overflows us and helps us to see things just as they actually are, not as they look like. And by following this way we shall reach happiness.

“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (Jn 14:26). In these last days of Easter let us beg to open up to the Holy Spirit; we received it when we were baptized and confirmed, but now —as a last gift— we must make the Spirit to spring up from within us to take us where we would not have dared by ourselves.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “If you shut the door of your mind, you shut out Christ. Though he can enter, he does not want to force his way in rudely, or compel us to admit him against our will” (Saint Ambrose)

  • “In the whole of the history of salvation, in which God has made himself close to us and patiently waits for us to take our time. He understands our infidelities, he encourages our commitment and guides us. We learn in prayer to see the signs of this merciful plan” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit. Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth. But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2671)