Friday of the 5th Week of Easter

John 15:12-17

Jesus’ Commandment


Nena has forgone marriage because of her dream to see her younger siblings finish college and be fulfilled in their profession.

Des and Lala decided to adopt a baby boy offered to them, for they can’t bear to see the little angel fatherless….motherless.

Despite her meagre salary, Ledwin cared for her little nephews and niece, nursed them, guided them, watched them grow and learn in school. She took the role of mother/father just to ease her brother’s burdens.

Jake walked to school for some days in order to save from his weekly allowance. From these savings he bought his Mom a single burner gas stove. “Now mama, you don’t need to get up so early just to build fire for our hot coffee and porridge.” He told his mom.

A priest lost his life when he tried to save other lives during the landslides and flash floods in Infanta, Quezon last December 2004.

These are but few expressions of the gospel message today. Laying down one’s life for others – this is love and there is no other greater love than this! It is to think less of self and an d give priority to others’ needs; to consider the other as part of self and minister with kindness and special attention.

As Jesus was nearing His death, He left a command: “Love one another.” Why love? I remember Fr. Dars who said: “Love is a better reconstruction of what Jesus has started.” Yes, the whole life of Jesus was a language of love. He taught us what love truly means. Jesus wants us to continue His mission – to love! (Sr. Tessa, SSpS Bible Diary 2006)


Jesus puts forward friendship as a new existential category by which we understand the commandment to love as flowing from God’s boundless love. The love revealed in the friendly God-Man Jesus is shown in three ways. First, He surrenders His life for the sake of the beloved, the highest form of love. Second, the beloved are no longer called slaves but friends. They have been freed from the slavery of sin. Third, it is Christ who chooses the beloved, not the other way around.

Jesus calls us His friends, indeed a reason for Easter joy. It is a wonderful gift to be singled out as a friend. There are countless givens in life beyond our control, but our friends are ours by choice. A friend accepts us as we are, spends time with us, stands by us in good times and in bad, understanding our shortcomings, easily forgives. A friend is one in whose presence we don’t have to say anything. That is precisely what Christ is to us. One wonders why “Christ our Friend” is hardly ever an honorific title of our churches and cathedrals. Hundreds of churches are named after the titles Christ the King, the Holy Redeemer, Christ our Savior, the Good Shepherd, but ever heard of Christ our friend Parish Church? (Fr. Oliver Quilab, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


The Easter season is drawing to its conclusion. In our liturgy, Jesus is preparing to go back to the Father and this beautiful and striking passage is part of His farewell discourse. Jesus, who “had loved His own in the world,” began by washing his disciples’ feet. His loving mission will now continue through the disciples.

One dark night last year, I was cycling home to our mission area when a drunk on a bike without a light crashed into me. His handlebar smashed against my cheekbone and x-rays later showed two fractures of the eye socket. The doctor looked worried. He thought my right eye would be seriously damaged so he sent me for another x-ray at once. However, when he looked at this x-ray, he exclaimed delightedly, “Malakas kayo kay Lord, Father!” He could not understand how the eye had been saved.

I do not think the doctor’s words meant that I can twist the Lord round my little finger, but perhaps rather, that i am loved by God, even though I may not always be s strong in returning that love.

We are all malakas kay Lord. We only need to ask in Jesus’ name and it will be granted to us. This does not give us the freedom to be selfish in our asking but if we share and grow in this close relationship of love with Jesus and with each other,  and with each other, we well become so near to the Father that we will want in our lives only what the we well become so near to the Father that we will want in our lives only what the Father wants. We will live out the prayer Jesus taught us: Mapasaamin ang kaharian mo.

An American professor explained clearly this part of the gospel: “John’s concern is that the disciples learn to act like people who possess the gift of the Lord’s presence by their attitudes of love, service and unity.” If only we could act like this! Perhaps a degree, somewhat marred by our sinfulness, we already do, but we still have a lot to learn! (Fr. Alan Meechan, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


April 29, 2016 Friday

The Democratic Republic of Congo has four national languages: Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili and Thsiluba. These unite more than 400 ethnic groups, each one with their mother tongue. Interestingly all four translate “CHRISTIAN” simply as “CHRIST”. In Lingala for example “Nazali mo-KRISTU” means literally “I am a CHRIST”. I nd this very tting because a Christian’s aspiration is to become a Christ. The priest is “alter Christus” which means “another Christ”.

I think, you will agree with me, that becoming another Christ is the goal for us all. Hence we understand the real impact of Christ’s greatest commandment: “Love one another as I love you”. The measure of love is not only as justice requires, nor loving another as yourself, but as Jesus loves us. The New Testament writers, to differentiate this love from the popular Greek vocabularies, chose a rather rare word AGAPE because it signifies “love that tends towards the other”. It surpasses sexual love, lial love or sentimental love. The greatest love of all is to “give his own life for his friends”.

In the beginning the Christians were mostly poor and powerless. They were persecuted, humiliated and even killed in spectacles. How can we explain the unexpected turn of events? The power of love! Christ’s love lived by the Christians was the real force that conquered the Roman Empire. Tertullian, himself a Roman convert of the second century, wrote how his pagan compatriots were struck by Christian witness: “Look,” they say, “how they love one another” (for they themselves hate one another); “and how they are ready to die for each other” (for they themselves are readier to kill each other). Source: CSEL 69; translation is Glover, Loeb edition.

Jesus told those he has chosen to bear fruit. The love that “tends towards the others” pushes us to be sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters. Christ’s love is demanding which entails great sacrifices like forgiving as he forgave those who wronged him, even those who betrayed him. If this great commandment were put into practice there would have been no more conflicts, no more war. (Fr. Xene Sanchez, SVD Congo, Africa Bible 2016)


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 month. 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)


The Easter Season has progressed rapidly; Good Friday was already five weeks ago. But we are never far from the cross, when the greatest love was revealed. Jesus speaks of this love in today’s gospel. The occasion is the Last Supper. On the night before he was about to lay down his life, he says, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is the kind of love he has for us, the greatest kind. He calls us his friends, not slaves. We are truly his friends if we accept his love and follow him.  We can have no greater friend than Jesus Himself!

We might expect Him to say something here about our love for him in return. That is how we understand love. It is reciprocal: we love those who love us, and we expect those whom we love to love us in return. But Jesus says something else here: that we should have this kind of love – the greatest kind – for one another! His commandment is not “Love me as I have loved you” but “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is very surprising and challenging. How can we love others as he loves us? He loves with a divine love, infinite and perfect. Our love is very different: human, limited, flawed. The only way we could love as loves is if his love were to somehow flow through us to others. He would have to fill us with his love for others.

This is exactly what he does. This is exactly what he described on Sunday with the image of the vine and the branches. The love of the vine does flow through all the branches, as long as we remain in him. He is the one who makes it possible for us to us to love one another as he loves us. It is not something we can accomplish on our own power; it is not even our own idea. He chooses us first. “it was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.” The “fruit” here is our love for one another. Because he has chosen us and loved us, we can love. We can lay down our lives for our friends, and even for our own enemies, as he did.

Love is more challenging when we face disagreements, or when we are offended. The early Church faced a challenge to “love as Jesus loves” when they were divided over the question of circumcision. Were the Gentile converts required to follow the Jewish law? It was a sharp disagreement. Love demanded that it be resolved. Today we read the letter sent from the Council of Jerusalem to the church of Antioch. The letter shows the great unity and joy that resulted from the open discussion and the communal discernment, led by the apostles. They saw that they old law would only make slaves out of the Lord’s friends. If we love, we do not unnecessarily burden our friends.

From a worldly perspective, it could look like this issue has nothing to do with love, but was rather a case of the “anti-circumcision party” winning a political battle against the “pro-circumcision party.” That is not what really happened. It was not simply a process of human decision making. Both parties tried to discover the will of God, and once they discerned what God wanted, they decided to follow it. Thus they write: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and ours too….” In other words, what God decides and reveals to us is what we also decide. The resolution of the circumcision controversy is truly triumph of love, another example of how the love of God continues to flow through the growing Church, just as a vine’s life flows through its branches. At the same time, the Church came to a clearer understanding of who has the authority to settle such an issue. The authority of Christ is exercised in the Church through the ministry of the apostles, in union with Peter.

Most difficulties in life do not need to be brought to a Church council. They can be resolved when we love as Jesus loves us. Usually an open heart and a willingness to forgive is enough to restore unity. However, love is not simply a matter of giving in. Love does not allow for sinful compromises or superficial solutions. Love is founded on truth. It is an expression of God’s own love for us. This is why it is so important for us to listen to the Holy Spirit when we face difficult situations. He will show us how to love in truth. It is God’s love in us that bears much fruit, fruit that endures.

What is my personal response to the love of Jesus? Do i know Jesus as a friend? Am I willing to love others as Jesus loves me? Do I listen to and follow the Holy Spirit? (Pondering the Word the Anawim Way, April 5, 2012 to May 26, 2012, Cycle B Year 2 – May 11, 2012 pp. 197-199)


My Reflection for Friday May 23, Fifth Week of Easter; John 15:12-17: Reflection: What if we follow this commandment of Jesus about love?

There would be no more hatred and separation amongst married couples but only love. There would be no more bullying and territorial aggression amongst nation but only love. But the sad reality is we choose to turn a deaf ear to this love commandment of Jesus. For the simple reason that we love ourselves more than we love Jesus and our fellowmen.

There’s a saying that before we could give love we must love our selves first. For how could we know how to give love if we have not experienced loving ourselves first? However this statement does not jibe on how Jesus interprets love or on how Jesus gives the truest meaning of love.

For Jesus to love is not to love oneself first, to love is to lay down ones life for the beloved, for Jesus to love is to forgive the many hurts that has been hurled at you by your beloved. For at the end of the day if we love the way Jesus loves us there’s no other way but for your beloved to be converted to Jesus’ love.

But how do we love? We love selectively and we love with measure. We sometimes do not love those we love when they do not fulfill our selfish expectation for them. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Reflection for April 29, Friday, Saint Catherine of Siena; Virgin and Doctor of the Church, John 15:12-17

Reflection: What if we follow this commandment of Jesus about love?

There would be no more hatred and separation amongst married couples but only love. But the sad reality is we choose to turn a deaf ear to this love commandment of Jesus. For the simple reason that we love ourselves more than we love Jesus and our fellowmen.

There’s a saying that before we could give love we must love ourself first. For how could we know how to give love if we have not experienced loving ourselves first? However this statement does not jibe on how Jesus interprets love or on how Jesus gives the truest meaning of love.

For Jesus to love is not to love oneself first, to love is to lay down ones life for the beloved, for Jesus to love is to forgive the many hurts that has been hurled at you by your beloved. For at the end of the day if we love the way Jesus loves us what would remain in us is love no hatred but only love.

But how do we love? We love selectively and we love with measure, we calibrate the love that we give by the love that we receive. And we oftentimes do not love our fellowmen when they do not fulfil our selfish expectation for them.

Let us love without condition and let us love without expecting love in return.  –  Marino J. Dasmarinas


MARTYR OF CHARITY: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

As a child, Raymond dreamt of the Blessed Mother and asked her what he would become when he grew up. She showed him two crowns — one was white for purity and the other red for martyrdom. She asked him if he accepted these crowns and Raymond readily said yes.

This yes began the faith journey of Saint Maximillian “Raymond” Kolbe, the Franciscan priest martyred in the notorious World War II Auschwitz concentration camp. The same yes compelled him to save the life of a fellow prisoner who was chosen to die by starvation. To the Nazi commandant he said, “I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.”

I believe Fr. Kolbe experienced the great love of Christ throughout his life, so much so that, like Him, he laid down his life even for a stranger. I believe Fr. Kolbe fully understood his life’s purpose and embraced the precious gift of martyrdom given to him as a young boy by the Blessed Mother. I believe that with his last breath he would have said, “It is finished.” A prisoner who saw Kolbe’s lifeless body shared that “his face was calm and radiant.” The martyr of charity was home in the arms of his beloved Father. Dina Pecaña (

Reflection: “A single act of love makes the soul return to life.” (Maximillian Kolbe)

Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to give to others as You have generously given to me.


1ST READING: The results of the Council of Jerusalem are dispatched to the rest of the Christian communities. We begin to see the Church organizing itself around a central figure, Peter, that will eventually develop into the structure we know today as the papacy. Such things do not magically appear in organizations — they develop slowly and surely, guided by the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Church. Thank God we have a wise guide in the Holy Spirit. Acts 15:22-31

GOSPEL: Love demands many things from us. It first demands that we receive the love that others offer us. Love is always a mutual relationship and this is part of its power. If love is something that is shared in return, then it is both self-perpetuating and self-sustaining. This is why if love abounds in a community, it will abound even more each passing day. Let us never forget this aspect of God’s love for us and our love for Him and others. John 15:12-17

think: Love demands many things from us.


THIS I COMMAND YOU: Does love command? I think it does. It is in the very nature of love that it is an invitation from one person to another. However, when we understand what love is and have received the love of God into our lives, the invitation to love others becomes a de facto command. Anything less than love for our fellow human beings is not good or worthy enough of Christian love. The example that Jesus gives us — He loved us while we were still sinners — is an incredibly strong model and very difficult to follow. It makes us understand the commanding nature of love — that there is nothing that anyone can do to us that would excuse us from the responsibility and duty to love our neighbor. Love is not simply the invitation to enter into a relationship; it encapsulates everything else that is needed to make that relationship endure until the end.

Jesus speaks of how we have moved from being servants to friends in our relationship with Him. Masters command their servants and their servants obey. Friends invite other friends into relationship and, hence, there is a different basis for it. Nevertheless, when we have received God’s love and are trying to live by it and share it with others, we discover that it has an element of commandment to it, simply because of its universal calling. If no one can excuse himself from loving another person, then there must be an element of command built into the nature of love, into the nature of our human psyche.

Let us examine how we express our love for others and see if we are being true to both the nature of love and our human nature. If not, let us pray for the grace to grow in our capacity to love — yes, even our enemies. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: What gets in the way of how you love other people?

Holy Spirit, help me to understand and act upon the fundamental truth that I should love all people regardless of who they are. Help me to avoid judging people prematurely so that I will not be hindered in loving them.


BEARING FRUIT – “I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit… – John 15:16

Have you discovered God’s work for you in the world? I personally believe that we are all called to fulfill our God-given purposes in life and bear fruit for the Lord, in the very work we do in the world. Let us…

W – Worship. We glorify God with our work. What we do with our time, talent and treasure magnifies the Source of all that we have.

O – Outdo. Excellence doesn’t mean perfection. It means doing our best. Striving to outdo ourselves every time ensures personal and social transformation. We also outdo each one in showing honor and love as the Lord has said.

R – Respond. God gave us abilities to answer the needs of His people. Will you do the work the Lord is calling you to do? Will you be “response-able”?

K – Keep the Kingdom. As we engage the world, let us remember the presence and principles of the Lord. That though we be in the world, we are not of it. Let our work exemplify God’s love and truth.

So, will you bear fruit? Will you WORK? Jonathan Yogawin (

Reflection: In what way can you much better appreciate your current work? Ask the Lord to guide and bless you to fulfill your God-given design and bless the world.

Lord, grant that I may love You and others through my work.


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.


Loving to the Extreme

May 8, 2015 (readings)

Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Father Edward Hopkins, LC

John 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples: “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.”

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, O Lord, in your great love for me. You are my creator and redeemer. I trust in your friendship; I trust that you will share with me all the insights and desires to love as you have loved. I love you, Lord, for you have loved me first. I want to love you by helping to bring your love and life to others.

Petition: With the love of your heart, inflame my heart!

  1. A New Commandment:“And can love be commanded?” Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI poses this very objection in his encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.”. Love is not merely a sentiment; it is an act of will. “God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing” (n. 17). We cannot be ordered to “like” someone or to “fall in love”, but we can “choose to love” our enemies. More importantly, when we experience God’s love for us, the joy of being loved leads us to want to respond to that love. And God has loved us first: “It was not you who chose me….” We experience his love for us as an ongoing reality each time we receive the sacraments, but also each time we reflect on the fact that he is keeping us in existence. This personal experience enables us both to understand love and want to share it.
  2. Friends Forever:Like love, friendship is easily misrepresented in today’s world, for it is more than convenience, mutual tolerance or mutual utility. Friends not only share love, they share secrets and intimate knowledge. Love leads “to a community of will and thought” (idem). I want to know what my friend is thinking and desiring so that I can share in those thoughts and even satisfy those desires. “The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide: God’s will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself” (idem).
  3. Chosen to Bear Fruit:Jesus’ commands are few, but they all have to do with love: “Do this in memory of me”; “Love one another”; “Love your enemies”; “Go and make disciples of all nations”, etc. The essential and urgent nature of this command of love is linked to the very mission of Christ. We are chosen and have been appointed to go and love others. If this love is authentic, grown from the vine of his love and great in sacrifice, it will bear fruit. The fruit which lasts, that for which he died, is an eternal life of friendship with God. What others most need from me then, is not material goods or consolation, or even my friendship, but an experience of God’s love for them, namely, knowledge of Christ. “Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave” (ibid., n. 18).

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, grant me a constant, growing desire to live your commandment of love. Awaken in me an awareness of your ever-present love in my life. Let this inspire me to love without measure, without distinction of persons, without fears of losing all that is less than love.

Resolution: I will choose to serve someone today, not because I feel the desire to do so, but for love of Christ.


FRIDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – JUAN 15:12-17. UNSA MAN NGA MATANG SA GUGMA ANG ATONG IPAKITA SA ISIGKATAWO? Adunay gugma nga mailibgon ug gustong moangkon: “Gwapahan ko nimo ug ganahan ko nga maako ka.” Naay gugma nga mamili: “Kamo ray akong higugmaon kay mga edukado mo.”. Aduna puy gugma nga may kondisyon: “Higugmaon taka basta dili ka magpabadlong”. Apan, adunay matang sa gugma nga andam maghatag sa kaugalingon sa pag-alagad, pagsakripisyo, ug kon kinahanglanon, pagpakamatay alang sa kaayohan sa tawo nga gihigugma. Kini nga gugma dili laog, dili pili-an, ug walay kondisyon. Mao kini ang gugma ni Kristo para kanato ug kini usab ang gugma nga iyang gusto nga atong ihatag sa usag-usa. Nindot ang giingon ni Billy Graham: “True love is an act of the will – a concious decision to do what is best for the other person instead of ourselves.” Posted by Abet Uy


Reflection for May 8, Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter; John 15:12-17 Reflection: What will happen if the love of Jesus is present in the family? There would be no conflict, no arrogance, no dominant behavior and no misunderstanding. There would also be forgiveness and humility. All of these factors are present because of the presence of the love of Jesus.

Let us say that we take away the love of Jesus, surely we will have conflict inside the family. This is brought about by arrogance, domination, infidelity, lies and so forth.

When Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another as He loved them (John 15:12). He envisioned harmony, forgiveness, trust and everything that is good for His disciples.  This is for the reason that Jesus wanted His disciples to become successful in their mission of evangelization.

Jesus perfectly knew that without love that originates from Him the disciples will not become successful in their mission. Their efforts would simply be in vain because they will simply be pulling each others leg downward. And there would be jealousy and misunderstanding among His disciples. Therefore there would be failure of their mission of evangelization.

We too will not become successful in our mission for Jesus and we will not have harmony inside the family. Unless we learn to imbibe and live this love commandment of Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


LOVE LANGUAGE “This I command you: love one another.” – John 15:17

I express my love for Gina, my wife, by kissing, cuddling and holding her hands. Gina thinks: “Cheesy!” She enjoys doing these things with me: house chores, going to the grocery or walking in the park. Me: “Zzzzzz.”

I expected her to be more “touchy” with me. She wanted me to spend more quality time with her.

While Gina and I had no serious issues, there was a strain in our relationship back then. We thought that our own personal expressions were automatically appreciated by the other.

We now know that our love languages differ. She has since learned to hold my hand and sit really close to me. I now think of things we could do together. It’s hard work but the rewards are much greater.

We follow God’s command to love, but often do it the easy way: our way. Many relationships fail because love is often miscommunicated. Love is expressed and understood in different ways. Do not insist that yours is the only correct way. Try expressing it in the language understood by the other person. It will take a lot of sacrifice on your part, but it’s all worth it. Jun Asis (

Reflection: Observe how your loved ones express their love. Return the favor in the same way.

Lord, make me more loving towards others. Help me express my love in the way they understand it, even if it means putting effort and much time into it.


LOVING FRIENDSHIP – I am amazed at people who have remained friends for a long time. A common custom here in the Philippines is to keep in touch with childhood friends. Friends are like members of the family. This friendship is a rare treasure indeed.

The story of Maximilian Kolbe is an inspiring story of sacrificial love and friendship. A prisoner had escaped from the notorious concentration camps in Auschwitz. As an act of punishment, men were chosen at random to take the place of the escaped criminal in the gas chambers. When one man was chosen by the soldiers, he begged for his release because he had wife and family at home. At this point, Fr. Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan priest, moved forward and took the place of the young father. Fr. Kolbe was driven to the gas chambers, thus saving the life of the other man. Jesus says in the Gospel: “No man can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”

Friendship is a gift from the Lord. The wise sage in Proverbs advises that to gain a friend is a treasure indeed. Friends who will stand by you in tough times are hard to come by, but they do exist. It is a matter of begging the Lord in His wisdom and love to seek out these friends that will persevere in relationships.

The basis of our catechesis is to love, serve and honor God and to be with Him forever in heaven. How can we love God whom we cannot see? The answer lies in the command of Jesus: Love one another. St. John teaches that when we love our neighbor, we are showing our love for God. This sounds very simple, yet perhaps the most difficult at times. Jesus asks us to love, to the point of death, in imitation of Him who has loved us and gave Himself for us. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you a loving friend to your friends?

Lord, help us to love one another as You have loved us — to the end. Amen.


Friday of the Fifth week of Easter

Friday, April 29

Acts 15: 22-31; Jn 15: 12-17

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena

Today we celebrate the memory of St. Catherine of Siena, who ranks among the great mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. Catherine was born in Italy as the 24 child of her mother. At the age seven she vowed to dedicate her life to God and withstood the coercions to get married. Catherine rejected the security of a married life as well as the safety of a nun’s veil. She chose to live an active and prayerful life outside a convent’s walls following the model of the Dominicans. She enjoyed the vision of Jesus all through her life. Her “Dialogue” or “Treatise on Divine Providence” is widely acclaimed as a masterpiece among mystical literature. At the age of thirty-three, on 29 April 1380, she died in Rome. She was an exceptionally courageous woman who dared to “speak truth to power”. This extraordinary woman influenced the Church, the politics and the history of her time. She played a key role in bringing the papacy of Gregory XI back to Rome from its displacement in Avignon, France and established peace among the Italian city-states. She is one of the two patron saints of Italy, together with St. Francis of Assisi. She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

Today’s first reading tells us about Barnabas and Saul, who were “set apart for the work to which the Spirit has called them.” This “setting apart” is nothing extraordinary, as we may be tempted to believe. What is extraordinary here is their “readiness” to “respond positively” to that call. Each and every one of us is set apart for the work to which God has called us. Whether we are ready to listen to that call and respond positively to that invitation makes all the difference. Jesus says, “And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.” It is the wrong choice we make that will condemn us. St Catherine stands out as an exceptional model of total dedication and availability to the divine call.  Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


April 29, 2016

REFLECTION: If a hundred Christians were stopped on the street and asked by a curious reporter, “Who is your best friend?” how many would unhesitatingly answer, “Jesus Christ”?

In today’s gospel reading Jesus declares emphatically: “You are my friends, if you do what I command you”—and his commandment is that we love one another.
Now here many Christians mis­understand what Jesus means by “love” and think that Jesus expects them to have nice feelings for ­everybody around them, to like ­everybody. But, of course, it is im­possible to like everybody. Some dislikes are automatic and spontaneous. As the popular expression explains such cases, “our vibes (vibrations) are on a different frequency.“ But the love spoken of by Jesus is not a feeling ­(although it can be accom­panied by all kinds of feelings), it is a free ­decision of the will to treat others (we are speaking of actions here) as well as possible: do good, bless, pray for, lend money to, etc. (cf. Lk 6). If we do this to all the people we deal with, we will be obeying Jesus’ command—and we will have him as our Friend, surely the best of all friends!


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 5th Week of Easter

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