5th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 14:5-18
There was an attempt in Iconium by both the Gentiles and the Jews, together with their leaders, to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas. They realized it, and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, where they continued to proclaim the Good News. At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him, saw that he had the faith to be healed, and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.” He jumped up and began to walk about. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in human form.” They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,” because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice. The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “Men, why are you doing this? We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways; yet, in bestowing his goodness, he did not leave himself without witness, for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.” Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
Gospel: Jn 14:21-26
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “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 he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
WE WILL MAKE OUR DWELLING WITH HIM: What a privilege – to be the dwelling of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit? And Jesus promises us that this is possible. In the Book of Revelations, He repeats this promise of the gospel of today, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). How would this be possible? By obeying his commandments! His commandments do not refer to the ten commandments and commandments of the church. His commandments are straightforward: (1) Love God, and (2) Love one another as I have loved you. And the two are tied up. Only when we experience the love of God in Jesus, can we love one another.
Prayer: Lord, help me open up my heart to your love.
YOU ARE GOD´S HOME: If we ask someone: `Where does God dwell? ´ The person will immediately answer saying: `temple´, `church´… or maybe `nature´. However, the answer in the Gospel is different. The true dwelling place of God is the disciple. At the beginning of John´s Gospel two disciples asked Jesus “where do you live?” He answered them: “Come and see” (Jn 1:38-39). Now, they have followed him, seen his “signs” and listened to his words. After that journey, Jesus brings back the question and now the answer is: if you keep my words, the commandment of love, “the Father will love you, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14:23). The acceptance of the word of Jesus, who is the Word of the Father (Jn 1:1), transforms us into a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and “gives us the power to become children of God” (Jn 1:13). The person becomes the sacred place of encounter with God. You and your brother are a holy land.
GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LOVE: Love is the language that even the blind and the deaf understand. Love made Jesus die for us for God is love. To be in one love with God, we are invited to keep His commandments that are founded on love. Through love we know God and are empowered as Jesus and the Father reveal themselves to those who accept to obey Christ in love. Love therefore becomes the absolute principle that governs the entire universe. Each of us in our different capacities is invited to act according to this principle of love for our world to experience harmony and true peace. Whenever love is ignored, vice takes precedence: hatred, enmity, dictatorship and violence. These vices and many others destroy us individually and communally; they destroy our society. For us to be rescued, the Advocate, the fulfilment of the requirement for rebirth in the Spirit (3:1-8), is with us. He will not only fight for us, but will bestow virtue in us through love. May we embrace this love as we witness to Christ’s love!