Sunday, May 9
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Roman Ordinary calendar
Acts of the Apostles 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.
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.
First Letter of John 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.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 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 may be in you and your joy may 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.”
Reflection excerpted from POPE JOHN PAUL II’S GENERAL AUDIENCE, Wednesday 6 October 1999
We can only come to the Father’s love by imitating the Son in his keeping of the Father’s commandments: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (ibid., 15: 9-10). In this way we also come to share in the Son’s knowledge of the Father: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (ibid., v. 15).
Love enables us to enter fully into the filial life of Jesus, making us sons in the Son: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 Jn 3: 1). Love transforms life and enlightens our knowledge of God to the point that it reaches that perfect knowledge of which St Paul speaks: “Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood” (1 Cor 13: 12).
It is necessary to stress the relationship between knowledge and love. The inner conversion which Christianity offers is a genuine experience of God, in the sense indicated by Jesus in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper: “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17: 3). Knowledge of God, of course, also has an intellectual dimension (cf. Rom 1: 19-20), but the living experience of the Father and the Son occurs through love, that is, in the last analysis, in the Holy Spirit, because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5: 5).
The Paraclete is the One through whom we experience God’s fatherly love. Moreover, the most comforting effect of his presence in us is precisely the certainty that this eternal and boundless love with which God loved us first will never abandon us: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (ibid., 8: 35, 38-39). The new heart, which loves and knows, beats in harmony with God who loves with an everlasting love.