Monday of the 5th Week of Easter

John 14:21-26

The Advocate

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

I was in high school when my father introduced me to the use of our house gun, an old .22 rifle which he kept handy to drive away the big lizards that terrorized our chickens in the coop. I remember how disappointed I was when the first lesson was not exactly on how to shoot with it. The first lesson was on SAFETY, a lesson which took a long time to master. “Never point the gun (loaded or unloaded or kaputt) to any person!” “Carry the gun with the barrel pointing to the ground or up!” “Before shooting, be absolutely sure that nobody is out there!” to drill me on the importance of safety, he would give me the empty gun and allow me to carry it around, always correcting the awkward and dangerous ways I handled it.

The lessons my father gave me, tedious as they were, are now part of me. When friends show off their weapons to me, I would handle them with some sort of reverence. In my mind, my father’s words instantly flash back: “Safety, safety, safety!” My father becomes present to me, he lives on in me and he becomes part of me.

Jesus of course never handled any earthly weapon. His kingdom called for another kind of arms: gentleness, forgiveness and love. His presence is enough protection from harm. How do I make His presence felt in me? Listen to Him: “”If anyone loves me he we will keep my word and my Father will love him and we shall come to Him and make our home with Him,” (John 14:23).

Jesus offers salvation. He offers His presence, his peace, his protection. Whenever God is present, there are wonderful things that happen. When Paul and companions preached the Good News to Lycaonia and made God present to the people, the latter thought that they were gods (Acts 14:11).

Invite the Lord in your life. Keep His word! (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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I have heard many times in homilies and retreats about the Unconditional Love of God. Whoever we are, wherever we are, whatever we have done… God still accepts us and loves us.

But every time I would chance upon today’s particular gospel those ‘romantic phrases’ cannot easily be received as a simply proclamation and explanation about the reality of God’s love.

Jesus tells us that only those who truly love Him as expressed in their acceptance of His commands and obedience to His teachings will be the recipients of His love and that of the Father. “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and reveal myself to him,” (v.21).

In the following chapter Jesus speaks more clearly about his ‘conditional love’ by saying: “…you are my friends if you do what I command you,” (John 15:14).

When Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery He told her: “I do not condemn you either. Go and sin no more.”

Points for reflection:

  1. How do I understand my Christian discipleship?
  2. Am I more of a receiver or a giver (Fr. Ed Fugoso, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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In the civil society we live in, we have a so-called constitution which every member ought to know and to follow. Even in religious communities of men/women, their life and mission are based on a constitution according to the vision and charism of their founders. All forms of human organization, from the biggest to the smallest, are defined by a set of rules.

Basic to any civic or religious constitution however is the commandment of love. “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” This commandment holds together all the laws, rules and regulations that one can think of. Isn’t it that we obey as much as possible the civil laws because we as Filipinos want to show our love for the country or we follow the constitution our respective congregations, because we love our founder and we wish to pattern our lives to his/hers?

Observing the commandments of love shows our love for Christ and the Father, which of course look easier said than done. But Christ sent us a Helper, the Holy Spirit who will teach us the ways of loving God and neighbor. (Fr. Al Araceli, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Example. Like San Lorenzo Ruiz who died as a martyr for the faith. Chinese father, Filipino mother, both Christians. He learned Chinese and Tagalog from them, Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. Professional calligrapher and documents transcriptionist. Member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Married layman, and the father of two sons and a daughter.

For unknown reasons, Lorenzo was accused of murder. He sought asylum on board ship with three Dominican priests, Saint Antonio Gonzalez, Saint Guillermo Courtet, and Saint Miguel de Aozaraza, a Japanese priest, Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Saint Lazaro of Kyoto, a leper. Only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan during a time of intense Christian persecution.

Lorenzo could have gone to Formosa (modern Taiwan), but feared the Spaniards there would hang him, and so stayed with the missionaries as they landed at Okinawa. The group was soon exposed as Christian, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. They were tortured in several ways for days. Lawrence and the Japanese priest broke at one point, and were ready to renounce their faith in exchange for release, but after their moment of crisis, they reclaimed their faith and defied their tormentors. First canonized Filipino martyr.

The Governors said to him: “If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?”

Lawrence: “That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please.”

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To capture the meaning of a word or a statement, it is highly recommended to view it within its context. In other words, we have to determine the circumstances in which those words were spoken or statements were formulated. This viewpoint disagrees with Paul Ricouer’s theory of interpretation, where he claims that a word or statement takes on a meaning independent of the time and place it was made. This is contrary to the Biblical scholars’ standpoint stressing Sitz-im-leben which literally means, “the setting in life.” According to them, the institutional setting in the world in which the statements takes on its characteristic shape proves to be more helpful in knowing the meaning of a statement. The particular setting was the journey Jesus took to Jerusalem in order to meet with his death. He did so in complete obedience to the Father and in full control of His life.

Like any man who is fully aware of the remaining days of his life, Jesus gave His last words to His disciples. Once again He wanted them to prove their love for Him, not by any romantic (as in eros) demonstration, but by keeping his words, that is, by obeying His commandments. This demonstration of love is more along the agape of the Christ-like way of loving where commitment, perseverance and faithfulness are required.

The proof of this kind of love is keeping Jesus’ commandments, bearing in mind all the while that His commandments are the refinement of the Decalogue which He summarized into one great commandment – loving God above all while loving others as ourselves.

On keeping the words of the Son of God by obeying His commandments, we are guaranteed of His presence and trust no matter what happens in life. Moreover, by keeping His commandments to prove our love, we know Him more, love Him better, and serve Him more faithfully. It seals our being with our Father in heaven. (Fr. Flor lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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For unknown reasons, Lorenzo was accused of murder. He sought asylum on board ship with three Dominican priests, Saint Antonio Gonzalez, Saint Guillermo Courtet, and Saint Miguel de Aozaraza, a Japanese priest, Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Saint Lazaro of Kyoto, a leper. Only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan during a time of intense Christian persecution.

Lorenzo could have gone to Formosa (modern Taiwan), but feared the Spaniards there would hang him, and so stayed with the missionaries as they landed at Okinawa. The group was soon exposed as Christian, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. They were tortured in several ways for days. Lawrence and the Japanese priest broke at one point, and were ready to renounce their faith in exchange for release, but after their moment of crisis, they reclaimed their faith and defied their tormentors. First canonized Filipino martyr.

The Governors said to him: “If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?”

Lawrence: “That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please.”

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 My Reflection for Monday May 19, Fifth Week of Easter; John 14:21-26 – Reflection: Do you always feel the infinite love of God?

Every Sunday morning I go to a sick woman to nourish her with the Body of Christ. After I read to her the Sunday gospel I give a very short reflection and there are times that she also gives her short reflection on the same gospel after which I give her Holy Communion.

Yesterday she reflected on the love of God she said; when she was still in the pink of health she would never fail to go to Sunday Mass to manifest her deep love for God. And she said further, now that I am sick and not anymore able to go to church I still feel the love of God because God is still sustaining me with His Body, Blood and Divinity.

In our gospel Jesus tells us: Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” This words of Jesus is very true as I have seen it in the sick woman who loved God by way of going to Holy Mass every Sunday. And now that she’s sick already God gives back the love that she gave Him.

One of the many truths of our life is its very short and it could end anytime. Therefore while we are still healthy let us express our deep love for God by our presence at Holy Mass. We do this not because we are expecting something from God someday. We do this out of our pure love for God.

How do you express your love for God?  (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-reflection-for-monday-may-19-fifth.html

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YOUR SPIRITUAL ADMIN ASSISTANT: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:26

Do you tend to be forgetful? I do, because I’m not the organized type. I just input all my reminders on my phone and set its alarm to go off on the day itself.

I’m also amazed by preachers who are able to memorize their talks while I need a screen to remind me of what to say next.

During meetings, I ask someone to take down notes as a reminder of all the things that were discussed.

But, as much as I need administrative reminders, what I really need is a “spiritual admin assistant.” This Person comes in handy especially in times of trouble.

When you experience sufferings, allow the Holy Spirit to remind you of what God has already done in your life. He allows Himself to be our Spiritual Admin Assistant, not to be subordinate to us, but to remind us of all of God’s promises for our life. Jan Carlo Silan (jan@makatifeast.com)

Reflection: Have you sought the assistance of the Holy Spirit to remind you of all the good things God has shown you?

Lord, send your Holy Spirit today to remind me that everything will be OK. During difficult times, remind me that You will help me just like You did before. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-19

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1ST READING: There was a lot of superstitious nonsense that permeated the world 2,000 years ago. Paul is able to make reasonable use of it in proclaiming the Gospel though he is careful not to compromise the essence of the Gospel when doing so. This teaches us that we should be wise in using current human methods in proclaiming the Gospel, lest we lessen the impact of the Word of God by being too clever for ourselves. Acts 14:5-18

GOSPEL: The Gospel is all about what God offers us and not so much what we can offer other than a receptive heart, mind and soul. It is God who makes the important moves and we are the ones who respond to His offers of grace. This is work on our part but it is work empowered by the Holy Spirit and under the grace and guidance of God. We cannot save ourselves and so we ought to be grateful that God has visited us as our Redeemer. John 14:21-26

think: We cannot save ourselves and so we ought to be grateful that God has visited us as our Redeemer.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-19

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ARE WE REALLY TEACHABLE? One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to teach us everything we need to know about spiritual life. This cannot be done unless we are teachable. We need to be humble and always willing to learn about the new way of life as disciples of Jesus. It takes a lot of humility to remain teachable throughout our lives because there is the danger that, after a few years of walking in the ways of Jesus, we begin to think that we know all that we need to know and so become less and less teachable.

The question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not we want to embrace the fullness of the grace that God has for us. This is the big question. We may think we have reached that fullness already, but the reality is that we never reach it in this life. Maybe some of the true mystics of the Church come close, but even they will be the first to admit that God is much bigger and grander than they have experienced. We need to set our eyes and goals ever higher as we embrace the Gospel call of holiness and seek to live as Christ’s disciples.

The world will always try to hold us back. The pleasures of life will become temptations that stunt our spiritual growth. Our own imperfect desires will have the same effect. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to have a fuller reign in our lives so that He can always challenge us to lift our expectations and to strive to grow more in holiness and likeness of Christ.

As we celebrate the Easter season, let us not do injustice to ourselves by not allowing the fullness of the grace of God to work in our lives. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: How open are you to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Holy Spirit, help me to open my heart and mind to the grace of God and, as such, to always expect to be taken deeper and deeper into my faith.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-19

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Holy Spirit

May 4, 2015 (readings)

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Father Patrick Langan, LC

John 14: 21-26

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And 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 that the Father will send in my name– he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for granting me the opportunity to be with you. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you, and I love you. Maybe I don’t really understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, a lot of images distract me. Help me do something about this.

  1. The Danger:It is easy to forget you, Lord, especially with all the images that are around me. Every image I harbor in my heart, every emotion I abandon myself to leaves its mark. These can come from the radio, the Internet, songs, novels… anywhere. They seem to swamp my mind and make it easier to forget you. These images and emotions can also impoverish, degrade, limit and reduce my ability to extract from life its magnificent content, usefulness and happiness. You remind me that I should use everything only in as much as it helps me to reach you, my final goal.
  2. The Gift:On the other hand, I know you have sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit. As you promise in this Gospel, he will never stop reminding me of you. All I have to do is let his projector fill my imagination with images, with thoughts, with insights. Of course, I also have to use the world’s media correctly and in moderation. Holy Spirit, I know you are near; take possession of my soul and make it all your own. Guide my every decision so that I choose what is right and reject what is evil.
  3. Accepting the Gift:When I do forget, the Holy Spirit will remind me of all that Christ has said. All of the emotions and thoughts you inspire, Holy Spirit, will enrich my ability to live enthusiastically and forcefully. You will fill my mind with great and powerful images. All I have to do is open myself to you.

“The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. […] To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2729).

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have the option of letting myself be consumed with thoughts of anger, lust and power—thoughts that will make me grow old and become a more intense version of myself, closed in on myself. Help me take the steps to avoid these temptations. Allow the Holy Spirit to animate my mind and my soul.

Resolution: I will clear my mind by filling my thoughts with God and his things.

epriest.com/reflections/view/378?utm_source=bulletin_728&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bulletin

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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