6th Sunday of Easter (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for May 10, 2015, the sixth Sunday in Easter. Thank you for joining us as we open the Word of God to prepare our hearts and minds for this Sunday’s Mass. As we prepare for the Liturgy of the Word we will look for the thread that connects all of the readings into a cohesive whole. As always our readings are taken from the Jerusalem translation for copyright purposes.
In the first reading from the book of Acts, we see the Apostle Peter play an important role in opening the newborn Church to non-Jewish people. When Peter addresses them with the statement that “God does not have favourites,” he permanently ends any notion that the Church’s identity would be determined by race or nationality. The Holy Spirit would not discriminate on the basis of class or appearance or anything exterior or superficial. Rather anyone with a heart open to God and willing to accept baptism was welcome to experience the Holy Spirit. The scene in this passage is moving because it shows God bestowing a Pentecost-like experience on non-Jews and opening up the Gospel to all people.
The response for the responsorial Psalm 98 is
The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.
This response is completely appropriate for what has just taken place in the first reading, where Peter becomes aware of God’s call to all nations revealed to him by the Holy Spirit and manifested by the outpouring of the Spirit on the Gentiles.
In our second reading from first letter of Saint John, we hear the famous exhortation to “love one another.” Why? Because “love comes from God.” This is a central truth that we hear so often that we may tend to overlook it. Saint John reminds us that no, we didn’t love God first, rather He loved us first. God is complete and free charity, offering his own passion and death on the cross for even those who might never avail of it or appreciate it. But such is the very nature of God who, by definition is love. It should come as no surprise—although still quite a challenge – that God would expect us to love in the same sacrificial and merciful manner that He does. Of course, we cannot on our own, but if we seek to know and love God, He can transform our hearts into hearts capable of loving more like He loves.
In our gospel reading from Gospel of John Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” Notice that everything starts with the Father’s love. And Jesus’ love is like the Father’s. Then Jesus tells us to remain in this Love. And how do we remain in that love? By keeping His commandments. What are His commandments? To love one another as He has loved us. What does this mean? This means for us to love each other with a willingness to lay down our lives for one another. But to what purpose should we remain in Him and love with a willingness to lay down our lives? Joy. Jesus says, “so that my own joy may be in you and your joy [may] be complete.” Jesus then tells us the relationship he seeks with us. If we think in terms of being just a hired servant, we are missing the point. This passage is an amazing and beautiful part of the Gospel because it is here that Jesus teaches us that the intimacy He seeks is one of friendship, not just servanthood. God chose us to be His friends –our whole friendship started because He chose us first. What is the final purpose of this deep abiding friendship? To bear lasting fruit. God will provide all we need to bear fruit if we ask Him.
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