Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter

John 15:9-11

Joy in Christ

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

I know a person who tried to run away and live alone away from the love of his father. But he was sad and miserable being alone, alone with his inheritance and vices.

He realized that the love of his father back home was greater and more profound than what he discovered while being separated from his father and living alone. Nobody knew him. Nobody treated him well. Nobody welcomed him. Nobody even fed him when he was in need of food. He realized how foolish he was to break away from his father’s love and to leave him and to live by himself.

The gospel is clear that Jesus wants us to remain always in his love, God’s love is free. He never charges us for loving Him neither for loving us. God’s love is unconditional. He never says that He loves us as long as we are doing good or being faithful to Him. His divine nature is simply to love us – that’s all! God’s love is everlasting. Again, He never says that His love for us is for a definite and limited period. Rather He says that he loves us ‘til the end of time. God’s love is extended to all people His love is universal.

It is, therefore, unthinkable and sad when we try to separate ourselves from God’s love. Around us are millions of reminders of God’s love for us, like the sky, the air, the mountains, the sea, the flowers, the trees, the family, friends, the church and many more. Without them, life would be so miserable for us. All of them are provided to us because He loves us. Why can’t we do the same – to remain always in His love?? For, loving Him is the greatest fulfilment that a person can ever achieve. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Jesus says: “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.”

Christ loves us as persons, in spite of sin, the dirt and grime that spoil our lives. However, we have to remain in His love. To remain in the love of Christ is to follow the commandments which He exemplified in His life, particularly the commandment of loving God and neighbor as oneself.

In daily life we find ourselves in situations when we have to make a choice, that is, to forgive or not, to cheat or to be honest, to take revenge or offer the other cheek. We might give in to human nature at times. But next time, think and reflect on this question before making a choice: What would Christ have done, said, and thought in the same situation? (Fr. Gerry del Pinado, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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I once received this text message from a friend, “Sometimes God breaks our spirit to save our soul. Sometimes He breaks our hearts to make us whole. Sometimes He sends us failure so we can be humble. Sometimes He sends us illness so we can take care of ourselves better. Sometimes He takes everything away from us so we can learn the value of everything we have.” Though this was probably quoted somewhere else it has a very striking message. It speaks not only of God’s providence but His unparalleled love as well.

In today’s gospel, Jesus is reminding His flock that the simplest way to follow His commandments is to remain faithful to His love. Going to back ancient tradition up to the time of the apostles, the Sacred Scriptures have enumerated several methods, law, tenets and demands in following God’s commandment. Experts from various biblical and theological fields have outlined different interpretations as regards the meaning, significance and message of this tradition. But oftentimes most people tend to forget that the core of understanding God’s command is through the depths of the human heart. Yes, God has given us a very simple commandment and that is the commandment of love.

At times we take for granted what God has given us. Christ suffered and died on the cross for our sake. He rose from the dead not only to fulfil the Father’s will but because of His great love for us. Nevertheless, we missed several opportunities because we tend to forget what He has done for us. Like for instance, we are given 168 hours every week (24×7 days). Out from this span of hours, how much time do we devote to God and how much time do we devote to watching television? In the same respect, how much time also do we devote to reading the Holy Bible and how much time do we devote to reading newspapers? I guess these are just few of the many questions in which we can evaluate ourselves on how do we really manifest our love to God. Yes it is quite easy to say that we love him but at times, it is just too difficult to be consistent with what we profess. Hence, we should not rely on our own capacity because oftentimes we fail, instead we put our trust in God and ask the Holy Spirit to enliven us. (Fr. Roger Solis, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Filipinos sometimes joke about aesthetically challenged persons by saying: “He/she has a face only a mother can love.” The idea behind this phrase is that a normal mother or a father for that matter, loves her child regardless of any physical or character flaw that the child may possess. Sociologists have long proposed a theory of the looking-glass self: we become hat the most significant person in our lives (wife, husband, mother, father, teacher, boss) thinks we are. How fortunate are those of us other, father, teacher, boss) thinks we are. How fortunate are those of us unconditionally by our significant others!

Jesus’ passion for life and mission emanates from a deep conviction of God’s abiding love. The Father’s explicit declaration of His love for Jesus at the Baptism on the Jordan – “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” – became a defining moment in Jesus self-understanding. His intimate relationship with His Abba empowered Him to pass it on to others. His life is the truest example of love lived out to the fullest. He was so consumed by the fire of God’s love that it sustained Him throughout even in His darkest hours.

I wonder how our lives would change if we truly believed in God’s astounding love for each one of us. How would our looking-glass selves transform if every time we look into the mirror we see ourselves only as God sees us? May our joy then be complete. (Fr. Oliver Quilab, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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April 28, 2016 Thursday

While waiting for his turn to be evaluated by St. Peter, a soul was going around inside the waiting room in heaven. In one display cabinet, he saw countless numbers of jars containing marbles.

When he asked an angel what the marbles were for, the angel corrected him, saying that they were not marbles but eyes. Eyes of people who when they were on earth, spent a major part of their time, watching beautiful paintings, sacred arts and images by great masters. It was all they did in their lives.

Another cupboard was full of hotdogs. Again the angel corrected the soul and informed him that they were tongues. Tongues of great preachers who proclaimed, when they were alive, spiritual and glorified truths. But it was all they did in life. Casually the angel mentioned also that many priests owned many of those tongues.

There were many other cabinets there, but to make a long story short, let’s connect them to the Gospel today, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” You will enter heaven whole, if your love for me is total; if your love is translated into following the commandments in your daily life. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD DWST, Tagaytay Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/615-april-28-2016-thursday

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LOVING WITHOUT MEASURE: On the statement of the Lord, “love one another,” I have three things to propose for reflection. First it is a command. It is not an invitation, a request or a option. It is a command. Being a command, it calls for a total obedience. We are not left with any choice except to follow His command to love one another. A Christian who says, “I cannot love the other. I will just love another one, “is contradicting himself. Jesus statement is a command. It is not an option, a request or an option. It is an obligation.

Second, the Lord says to us, “Love one another.” He did not say, “Love one another when you are both young or when you are both healthy.” He did not say, “Love one another when you are not angry anymore.” Or, “Love one another when the other one has stopped offending you.” The Lord only said, “Love one another” without any conditions or limitations.

The fact is, my dear brothers and sisters, we are persons who love to procrastinate. We would rather love one another next week or next week. Yet the Lord tells us the best time to love is not yesterday, not tomorrow. The best way to love by God’s command, “Love one another,” is to love now. If we fail to love one another now, there is a great possibility we will fail to love one another tomorrow or the next moment.

Third, the Lord says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” The Lord did not say, “Love one another as they love you.” Our standard is not the love we have received. Our standard for loving is not the love we see in others. Our standard for loving is the love we experience from the Lord Himself.

If our standard of loving is the love we receive from other people, very surely, our love will be imperfect and impure. Our love standard should be the Lord’s.

Today we offer our bread and wine, let us keep these three thoughts in mind. It is obligatory to love one another. Loving one another has no conditions. Let us remind ourselves that our model for loving one another is not the love we see in others, but the love God has blessed us with. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in My Heart, pp. 106-107)

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I AM IN LOVE: Once there was a bishop addressing a meeting of priests. The bishop began by saying, “Your bishop has fallen in love. I have fallen in love with a woman. I cannot sleep because I think of her. I cannot sleep because I have fallen head over heels for her. Her name is Mary.” There was one deaf priest who managed to catch on to the bishop saying he was falling love. When he went back to his parish, he told his parishioners, “Please pray for our bishop. He is madly in love with a woman. He cannot sleep, thinking about her but I forgot her name.”

Falling in love causes a lot of speculation. But the concept of falling in love carries with it the connotation that we practically lose control of our senses. We lose control of our faculties because we have fallen in love. And once we have fallen in love, the situation is that you are no longer “falling.” But are now “in” love.

The Lord Jesus tells us what love really is. Love does not mean falling into something, as though you lose control over your will and human faculties. To love, according to the Lord, is not a question of affection, emotions or feelings. To love, according to the Lord, is not simply a question of fire that is ablaze or fire that will burn out later on. The Lord says the proper way to love is not to fall in love but to “live on in My Love.”

While falling in love refers to emotions beyond control, living in love refers to sustained commitment to our beloved we love the Lord, there is no question about that. Yet we must purify our love so that we are not only victims of our emotions and feelings. Our love must be translated into an act of will. That is, even if I don’t feel like it, even if my feelings are not into it, I will carry on. That is the way to live on in God’s love.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace to sustain us in our love for each other and in our love for the Lord. Not only through feelings, emotions and affection or by a fire that will burn and burn out later on but with love that lives on, a love that comes from the will.

Silently now, let us lift up to the Lord our prayer for unity and our readiness and willingness to respect each other’s uniqueness. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, 110-111)

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BE HAPPY…..BE LOVING: Every disciple of the Lord is to the three missions.

The first mission is the mission of joy. A sad Christian is a very bad Christian. The world suffers because of so-called Christians who wear long faces and give the impression that the whole world is on their shoulders. Our joy is in Christ. This should radiate from our faces and show in our actions. Christ wants us to be happy Christians.

The second is the mission to love. No Christian is sent by God to sow dispute and hatred. Each Christian is called to love. How faithful are we to this mission it is easy to love the beautiful and those who love us in return. But the Lord asks us to love everybody, just as the sun shines on everybody and the tree gives shade to both good and bad. Our goodness should be given to both good and bad people because our nature itself is goodness.

The third is a mission of friendship. We are sent as friends. We are no longer slaves but the Lord’s friends. Because He is our friend, all His friends should be our friends. The Lord says a true Christian disciples is friendly. Let us relate to each other as friends not as master or slave.

Let us ask the Lord to deliver us from the temptation to be sad and pessimistic, the temptation to be unfriendly and to lord it over others, the temptation to hold grudges and nurse hurt feelings. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be faithful in our mission to love, our mission to be friends and our mission to be joy givers. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, p. 235)

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Twice this week we have pondered Jesus’ profound parable of the vine and the branches; today’s gospel is a continuation of his teaching. Here he gives a further description of what it means to be a branch on the Vine. He says, “Live on in my love. You will live in my love if you keep my commandments. Love flows from the Father to the Son, and from the Son to each of us. Love is the unifying vine! If we remain in him, we will be fruitful.

We can take note of what Jesus does not say about the life of the branches. He does not say that we must keep his commandments first and then we will be loved. He does not say that we must bear much fruit in order to qualify as branches on the vine. Jesus’ focus here is not really on the fruit at all, but on the inner life of the whole plant. If the love of the vine flows freely through the branches, they will inevitably bear much fruit. Jesus is a fruitful vine! If we remain in Him, we will be fruitful.

Some of the fruits of love we can see in the myriad good works of Christians everywhere, in the raising of families, caring for the sick, teachings in schools, working in hospitals, fostering the arts, serving the poor, engaging in public service, and raising up a more Christian culture – all this flows naturally from living in his love. It is really his love that is bearing fruit, not so much our activities. This is what we can see. There is much more fruit that we cannot see: forgiveness, patience, sacrifice, reparation, generosity – a bountiful harvest which we will know only in heaven.

In the early church, the controversy over circumcision threatened to distract Jesus’ disciples from the inner life of love and bind then to a set of external practices. The question was: why must one do to be a Christian? Do you have to be Jew first? Do you have to follow certain rules about foods and practice certain purification rituals in order to be a Christian?

These questions were officially settled in Jerusalem by the early Church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the apostles explained that our religion is not founded on the following of such external rules, but rather on faith in Jesus Christ. This conclusion, as Peter says, was based on what God had already revealed. The Lord granted the Holy Spirit “to them just as he did to us. He made no distinction between them and us, but purified their hearts by means of faith also.” If God did not require that they be circumcised, what right would the Church have to impose such a burden? Peter goes on to say, “Our belief is rather that we are saved by the favour of the Lord Jesus and so are they.”

At this “Council of Jerusalem” the Christian faith was proclaimed in a clear and simple way. However, many people, including many Christians, still tend to think of religion as “just a lot of rules.” If you follow all the rules, then you are a good Christian. If you fail to follow all of them, then you are not as good a Christian. And if you break too many of them, you will go to hell. This way of thinking takes the rich fabric of our faith, tears it to pieces, and tries to substitute a few of the scraps for the whole. It makes for a pathetic form of religion. And yet, there is something appealing to us about being in control. We take pride in our good external actions. We do not like to admit that we cannot save ourselves, that we are dependent on God. To acknowledge that we are saved by faith takes humility.

When Jesus invites us, “Live on in my love,” he is inviting us to let his love remain and reign in us. It is an invitation to live “from inside out.” We are not Christians because we follow the commandments; we follow the commandments because we are Christians, because we are followers of Jesus. If we have His love within us, then we will bear much fruit.

Why do I follow God’s will? Under what circumstances do I experience difficulty obeying Christ’s law of love? Do I make burdensome demands upon those I love? Am I able to move beyond my unrealistic expectations and accept the sincere efforts of others? (Pondering the Word the Anawim Way, April 5, 2012 to May 26, 2012 – Cycle B Year 2 – May 10, 2012 pp. 193-195)

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A NEW SONG: Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. – Psalm 96:1-2

When I am unsatisfied, I bicker.

When others fail, I blame.

When I falter, I make excuses.

When there is little, I grumble.

When I am bored, I gossip.

When I lose my temper, I shout.

Does it really need to be this way?

I am a Christian Living Education teacher, and I am blessed with the privilege of proclaiming God’s Word to my elementary students each and every day. It’s part of the job. Some would say it’s a “holy” job. I agree. But as a Catholic, my job is not only to proclaim His goodness through my classroom lessons, but to witness to His love in my life — in my actions and in my words, no matter what circumstance I am in. When faced with negative situations, I must remember that each time I bicker, blame, grumble or gossip, and each time I shout in anger or use hurtful words, I become a Christian so helplessly out of tune. Would my students want to listen to me then?

So today, I decide to sing a new song, to focus on the good, and to proclaim His salvation day after day through the sweet sounding melody of my life. (Geraldine G. Catral (catral@beaconschool.ph)

Reflection: Have you been singing out of tune lately? What new song is God asking you to learn?

I praise You, Lord, with all my heart. Help me today to give glory to Your Name in my actions, words and thoughts.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-22

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1ST READING: The move away from the practice of the Mosaic Law is a gradual one that takes years. This is OK as life is a journey. It takes time to change a mindset that has been established for over 1,000 years. This is the challenge we face when we try to evangelize a culture, particularly an ancient one. We have to journey with the people we are evangelizing. The work of the Spirit takes time, particularly if the one being evangelized is stubborn, and most cultures are very stubborn when it comes to change. Acts 15:7-21

GOSPEL: Jesus affirms that it is critical that we remain in His love. What does it mean to remain in the love of God? It means that we should allow ourselves to be soaked in the love of God as best as we can and to keep ourselves there for as long as possible. Love becomes the focal point of our lives — knowing we are loved by God and seeking to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul. John 15:9-11

think: We have to journey with the people we are evangelizing.

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LOVE ONE ANOTHER: In more than half of the wedding Masses I have officiated, this Gospel Reading from John is the one that couples choose. Sometimes I am not sure if they know that they have a choice and so are just following what they have heard in the weddings they have attended.  Nevertheless, the sentiment of the Gospel today is most appropriate for the occasion.

It is also a sentiment that is appropriate for our relationships. All human relationships need to be governed by love and self-offering. Any relationship that focuses on the self will shrivel and die. Eventually, the other person would have no more love to give as there is no reciprocal infilling of love tanks. We begin to understand this dynamic better as we reflect on the selfless nature of the Father’s love for His Son, and vice versa. Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus continues the image by saying that we need to love one another in the same way that God has loved us and that we want others to love us.

The circle is now complete. The image of the Father and Son’s love for each other comes first. We are drawn into the circle of that love, and then we are commanded to continue it by loving one another. In this way, love will continue to abound indefinitely. This is the intention of God as He knows that true love has the power to change peoples’ lives for the better. Discipline can bring a certain level of change in a person, in so far as he is motivated to accept the pain out of fear. However, love is self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating. Love, as so many saints and theologians have come to realize, is beautiful.

Let us never be afraid to love, even those who refuse to love us in return. Let us be captured and enraptured by love’s beauty so that we will never tire of sharing it with one another. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: What governs your relationships — your love for yourself or for others?

Holy Spirit, help me to receive as much of God’s love for me as I possibly can. I want to be filled with His love so that I can be emptied of it as I share the Gospel with others.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-22

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I TOLD YOU – “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” – John 15:11

My dad never runs out of reminders. He would constantly say, “Pia, don’t forget to turn off the lights. Lock your doors always. Don’t go home late. Sit properly. Wake up early,” and more. I find myself rolling my eyes or acting as if I didn’t hear him. I think to myself, “I know these things. I don’t need to be reminded every time!”

Then I wake up the next day with all the lights left on. Oops!

God is the same with us. He always reminds us to remain in His love, to follow Him, and to reject all types of sin because He wants us to be happy — to feel the real joy He offers every day. He doesn’t want us to miss out on life because He loves us too much to see that happen. So even if He has to remind us over and over again just so we don’t forget, that’s what He does through His Word and through our own life experiences.

Today, He asks you to remain in His love. Will you roll your eyes or follow Him? Pia Angelica J. Suiza (piasuiza@yahoo.com)

Pope Francis Says: “There is no love without communicating, there is no isolated love…. True love cannot isolate itself. If it is isolated, it is not love.”

Give me a humble heart and an unshakable faith in You, Lord. It is in Your love that I always want to be. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-28

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LEARNING TO ABIDE IN GOD’S LOVE – What does it mean to abide in the love of God? This is an important question to contemplate because if we can come up with the right answer, we will be transformed in ways that we never even thought possible or probable. Jesus tells us quite specifically that the success of His mission and life rests on His “abiding” in the love of His Father.

The Greek word menai translated here as “abide” is actually difficult to express in English. It could be translated as “remain” by which is meant a “continual keeping to” or “persevering or staying with” a particular attitude or place. For me, it is important that we recognize this sense of persevering as this is where most Christians fail in their faith journeys. Most people lack the will to persevere when the times get tough.

Jesus’ life and ministry was not easy — He suffered and died; He was misunderstood and persecuted. Why do Church people today seem to expect a life where the blessings flow all the time, making their life enjoyable and easy with very little or even no hardship? This is simply unrealistic. Jesus often tells His disciples that they will suffer. The Early Church suffered, with thousands of men, women and children martyred for their faith. Why do we expect it to be different for us?

Too often today, our preachers are not willing to give us the hard word of taking up our cross to follow Jesus, or renouncing the world in order to be fit for the Kingdom of God. This does not help anyone become a true Christian — all it does is create unreal and false expectations of a life of complete blessing with no trials or difficulties. If we are honest, we know that such expectations are unrealistic.

We have to learn to persevere in the knowledge of the presence of God’s love in our lives because it is precisely His love for us and our love for Him that will see us through to eternal life. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you have unrealistic expectations concerning discipleship? Do you realize and embrace the truth that you will suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

Holy Spirit, grant me the grace of perseverance so that I will be able to endure the cross for the sake of the reward of eternal life. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-28

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JESUS CALLS US HIS FRIENDS – Friendship with Jesus is a beautiful concept but its reality comes with a cost — the cost of discipleship. Jesus speaks of it here in terms of “keeping God’s commandments,” in particular the command to love one another. There is no doubt that the heart of the Gospel is summarized in the commands to love God and our neighbor. What remains to work itself out is how we comply with these commands.

Jesus’ description of His relationship with us as a friend is radically different to a master-slave relationship. Friendship recognizes a fundamental equality in relationship — one does not dominate the other. This indicates the incredible humility of God in reaching down to us — the Divine seeking to be with the mortal, and not He dictating the terms of the relationship. Yes, God presents us with His will for our lives, but never does He force it on us. He gives us the choice whether to accept it or not.

This is at the heart of my vocation as a priest. God offered me the grace and I felt no compulsion either way — just the simple matter of having to make a choice to accept this calling or not. I accepted it because I believed that if this was what God was calling me to do, then this was the most effective way for me to come to a real human fulfillment. Yes, I could have had a fulfilled life as a married man with a wife and family, but perhaps not as perfectly fulfilled now that I have chosen to follow what I believe to be His perfect will for my life.

Friends do not demand on one another to do this or that. Friendship, like love, is an offering of one’s self to the other person as a gift and receiving the reciprocal gift of the other in return. Love that is freely given will always be worth far more than love that is bought or demanded as a payment. This is not friendship at all. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you view your relationship with God at the moment? Are you friends with God or are you distant from Him?

Holy Spirit, teach me how to respond to God’s offer of friendship and love. Show me how to accept it and allow it to heal the hurts of past relationships and guide the formation and development of new ones. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-29

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My Reflection for Thursday May 22, Fifth Week of Easter; John 15:9-11: Reflection: What is the primary fruit of remaining in God’s love? Its joy, hope and faith.

When Jesus told the disciples that they must remain in HIS love HE knew that they would be going through trials, persecution and even death as they do their mission for HIM. And true enough, the apostles went through all of these except for Judas who betrayed HIM.

Why is it important to remain in Jesus’ love? This is for the reason that we cannot rely on anyone’s love in this world except HIS love. We cannot rely on the love of our spouse even the love of our children we cannot rely on it. Because their love is based on human emotion that is always subject to change.

Therefore what will remain is Jesus’ infinite love for us, this love is not subject to any form of human emotion which is always passing and subject to change. God’s love for us in anchored on infinite sacrifice, forbearance and forgiveness.

As we journey in this world, we will sin and we will fail the expectation of Jesus. Nonetheless, let us not feel that Jesus has walked away from us because Jesus through HIS priest has left us the Sacrament of Confession for us to continuously remain in HIS love.

When was your last Confession? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-reflection-for-thursday-may-22-fifth.html

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Reflection for April 28 Thursday of Fifth Week of Easter, John 15:9-11

Reflection: What makes marriage last forever? It’s love! Not love according to the meaning of this world but love according to the love of Jesus.  Unfortunately many of us express our love according to this world. Not the kind of love that Jesus mentions to us in the gospel.

Otherwise if the love that binds a couple together in the sacrament of marriage is like the love of Jesus. There would be no divorce or separation amongst couples.

The word love has been devalued by the people of this modern world. Who is the culprit? No other than us! We have lowered to the gutter the word love because we’ve not been faithful to Jesus this is also the reason why we don’t feel the love of Jesus.

Let us go back and revisit the meaning of love as Jesus meant it to be in the sacrament of Marriage.

Here goes: For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/04/reflection-for-april-28-thursday-of.html

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My Love for the Church

May 7, 2015 (readings)

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Father Patrick Langan, LC

John 15: 9-11

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.”

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, increase my love and appreciation for the Church and her leaders.

  1. Christ and His Church:When Christ says, “Keep my commandments and remain in my love,” he is talking not only about the Ten Commandments but also about the Church. What is the Church? It is Christ’s extension through time. We cannot say, “Christ, yes; the Church, no,” because the Church is the mystical body of Christ; the two are inseparable as head and body. The Church, through its sacraments and its solid teachings, makes Christ present for me now, today. It is through this Church that I received the gift of faith. I want to remain in Christ. I want to remain enthusiastically in his Church.
  2. God’s Chosen Ministers:You chose the Apostles to continue your work of redemption throughout the ages. Therefore, Lord, I want to love your priests and your bishops. I know how hard their job is. I see their perseverance. The Eucharist is available all over the world because of the fidelity of priests. Thank you for bishops and priests. Thank you for our parish. I want to support the parish with joy; giving of my time and my financial sacrifices.
  3. The Pope:Lord, I want to love the Holy Father. He is the rock on which you chose to build your Church. Because he has kept the straight path, the world recognizes his moral authority. Lord, I want to learn more about what he is saying. Today with the Internet, it is so easy. It just takes a little interest and a little time. This is one way I can remain in your love. Thus, my joy will be complete.

Conversation with Christ: When you came, Lord, you wanted to heal us through the sacraments, and you set up the Church to administer them. Because you are present in your Church, it has lasted two thousand years. Thank you for giving us this instrument of salvation.

Resolution: I will read something Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI has written. Much can be found on the Vatican website.

epriest.com/reflections/view/381?utm_source=bulletin_728&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bulletin

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THURSDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – JUAN 15:9-11. UNSA MAN NGA MATANG SA KALIPAY ANG GUSTO NATONG MAANGKON? Dinhi sa kalibotan adunay kalipay nga atong makuha gikan sa bahandi, materyal nga butang, sex, druga, alkohol, ug uban pa. Apan atong mabantayan nga kining matanga sa kalipay mabaw ug lumalabay. Si Kristo maoy nagtanyag kanato og kalipay nga hingpit ug malungtaron. Ang maong kalipay maangkon nato kon kita magpabilin diha Kaniya ug mosunod sa Iyang mga sugo. Nakasulay kana ba sa pagtabang og tawo nga kabos kaayo ug wala gyoy mahimo? Human sa pagbuhat niini, aduna kay mabati nga talagsaong kalipay. Ang maayong buhat iya sa Dios, ug ang iya sa Dios maghatag gayod nato og tinuod nga kalipay. Ang magsusulat nga si Zoroaster nag-ingon: “Doing good to others is not a duty. It is a joy, for it increases our own health and happiness.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/05/thursday-of-5th-week-of-easter-year-b.html

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How do you remain in Jesus? Do what he did, Pope says

By Elise Harris

Vatican City, May 3, 2015 / 11:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis paid a visit to a parish on the southern outskirts of Rome, where he told parishioners that in order to be a good Christian they must always be attached to Jesus, who gives life.

“To remain in Jesus, and this is the hardest of all, means to do what Jesus did. To have the same attitude as Jesus,” the Pope told parishioners at Mary Queen of Peace in Ostia Lido, in the south of the diocese of Rome, May 3.

“When we expel others, for example, when we gossip, we don’t remain in Jesus. Jesus never did this. When we are liars, we don’t remain in Jesus. He never did it. When we cheat others with these dirty affairs, which are the work of everyone, we find ourselves dead. We don’t remain in Jesus,” he said.

To remain in Jesus, Francis explained, means “to do the same that he did. To do good, to help others, to pray to the Father, to care for the sick, to help the poor, the have the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

“A good question for us Christians to ask ourselves is this: do I remain in Jesus? Or am I far away from Jesus? Am I close to the vine that gives me life? Or am I dead?”

The Pope arrived to Mary Queen of Peace at 4 p.m., where he met with groups of the parish, including the elderly and sick, children and youth, and spouses who have had children baptized during the year.

After meeting with the various groups, Francis heard the confession of some of the parishioners before celebrating Mass at 6 p.m.

In his homily he drew inspiration from the day’s Gospel reading from John chapter 15, in which Jesus tells his disciples the parable of the vines and the branches.

The main message Jesus is giving his disciples in the parable is something he repeated to them often, above all in the Last Supper: “remain in me.”

“And the Christian life is this remaining in Jesus. This is the Christian life. To remain in Jesus. And Jesus, to explain well what he wanted to say, uses this beautiful image of the vine,” he said.

Each branch that detaches itself from the vine or is not united to it can’t bear fruit, and is tossed outside into the fire, Francis noted. It takes a lot of branches to make this fire, he said, so the ones that get tossed “are very, very useful, but not to bear fruit.”

While we are all sinners, we are able to bear fruit to the extent that we are united to Jesus like the branches are to the vine, the Pope said, explaining that the Lord also has to prune us so that we can give more.

“If we detach ourselves from him, if we don’t remain in him, we are Christians in word only, but not in life. We are dead Christians, because we don’t give fruit like the branches attached to the vine,” Francis cautioned.

He also warned against “other branches” which Jesus refers to in another passage, saying that they are the “hypocrites” who pretend to be a disciple of Jesus,   but who “do the opposite.”

These people might even go to Mass every Sunday, but they live “like pagans,” he said, and explained that remaining in Jesus means to have the desire to receive both forgiveness and pruning from him.

Pope Francis also pointed to the sacraments as a key means of strengthening our union with Jesus, who always invites to remain in him and forgives us when we sin “because he is merciful.”

What Jesus wants from us are these two things, he said: “that we remain in him, and that we are not hypocrites. And with this the Christian life goes forward.”

In turn, Jesus promises to give us whatever we ask for, Francis said, indicating how Jesus tells his disciples in the passage that “if you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done.”

“What a strength in prayer! Ask whatever you want…this is the omnipotent prayer.”

This omnipotence of prayer comes from remaining in Jesus and from being united to him as the branches to the vine, he concluded, and prayed that all would have the grace to remain in Christ.

catholicnewsagency.com/news/how-do-you-remain-in-jesus-do-what-he-did-pope-says-73594/

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Stay connected to Christ—priest

PARAÑAQUE City, May 4, 2015—In an age when “interconnectedness” means little more than logging into one’s favorite social media site, a Catholic priest puts God back into the equation, reminding the faithful to always keep themselves connected to Christ.

Elaborating on the Scriptural readings yesterday, May 3, Fr. Mariel Sarez invited parishioners of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Parañaque City to “remain in Jesus as He remains in us,” and to reflect on the Gospel passage that “Christ is the true vine and we are His branches.”

Nothing without Christ

“We cannot do anything without Christ. It is important that we have connection with God,” he said, highlighting the importance of connection in a time when communication ironically prevents many from having genuine and deeper relationships with others.

Sarez explained being connected with Chirst means as much as being connected to one’s neighbors, stressing the duty of Christians to “love one another as Jesus loves them,” and to obey His commandments.

According to him, all those who profess belief in Jesus must each be a “loving person,” stating there is real connectivity only when each one feels for the others.

Emotion to action

“Love is not just an emotion. It must translate into actions,” said the priest, noting how God desires all His children to have life, as well as to “bear much fruit.”

“We have seen flowers made of plastic. No doubt they are just as colorful. In fact, they never wilt. But they also lack life and fragrance,” Sarez said.

“If we isolate ourselves from the community, from the Church, from the family, the world will be a mistake. No man is an island. No person lives only for himself,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=55518

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 Thursday of the Fifth week of Easter

Thursday, April 28

Acts 15:7-21; Jn 15:9-11

Problem, not Person

Since two days the first readings of liturgy are speaking about the division that existed in the early Christian community. The community was divided over the issue of ‘compulsory circumcision’ of the newly converted gentiles to Christianity. The first ever Council (Jerusalem Council) was convened to solve this issue. The way that the apostles and other members of the Council went about with the issue gives insight to us. While discussing the issue they always focused on the issue without getting personal. They never attacked personally each other but attacked the problem.

Very often we have made the conflicts worse in our families and communities by getting too much personal. In the process we forget the problem and attack the persons holding views that we either dislike or we don’t understand. During the Council, Peter never belittled Paul pointing to the fact that he was not one among the twelve that Jesus had chosen. Neither Paul teased Peter referring to the fact he had denied Jesus three times. Newly made disciples didn’t make fun of the apostles speaking of the fact that they all had left Jesus and had run away for life.

In every family and community, the conflicts are bound to arise as our aspirations vary from each other, our interests are not the same and our emotional traits are different from each other. But in solving them let us avoid becoming personal. We must avoid condemning, belittling, comparing, labelling, insulting, pointing to the mistakes committed and being sarcastic. Always remember the fact that, ‘a soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh word stirs up anger’ (Prov 15:1). Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-4-28

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April 28, 2016

REFLECTION: In today’s gospel reading, as we just heard, Jesus tells us: “I have told you all this, that my own joy be in you, and your joy may be complete.”

Some Christians go through life keeping, as the British say, “a stiff upper lip,” convinced that the life of a Christian, because it requires constant self-denial, needs to be sustained by a stoic composure. And this they show in their frowning faces, hunched backs, gloomy countenance. Alas, they forget that Jesus wants us to be happy in this life, not just some day in Heaven. As Jesus specified many times: “I came that my sheep have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27). “So you have pain now; but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (Jn 16:22). “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (Jn 16:24). “I speak these things in the world so that they (my followers) may have my joy made complete in themselves” (Jn 17:13).
And so, stoic Christians, abandon your frowns and start smiling!

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3517-april-28-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter

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