MAY 6. EASTER. Wk 5. Thu. Jn. 15. 9-11
Updated: Sep 5
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved 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 own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.’
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you!” What we have here is a statement from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that he loves us; - in the same way he is loved by the Father; - which means we have to ponder how the Father loves his Son.
The most obvious characteristic of the Father’s Love is he put the needs of others before his own interests; - and he expects his Son; - whom he loves; - to do the same; - something Christ clearly did during the time he dwelt among us.
So, we have a powerful lesson in this reading, where Christ is teaching his disciples he loves them; - in the same way the Father loves him; - which means putting their needs, and the needs of others; - before his own!
While it is easy to state this truth; - and to witness it in how Christ lived his earthly life; - it is a teaching that is extremely difficult to put into practice; - because of our inbuilt inclination to care for ourselves; - and put our own desires and wishes first.
But this is exactly what Christ is asking of us today with the simple instruction “Remain in my Love!” If we want to follow his example it is a requirement we put the needs of others before our own!
And the most remarkable aspect of the Father’s Love; - and the Love of Jesus Christ; - is it is a Love that is shown toward sinners; - those who rejected God’s Love; - and who gave first place to their own wishes and desires; - so it is a merciful love!
So, what we are being taught here is the need to love others, and to care for others, even when they have injured or offended us; - something in a league of its own, and which goes beyond just loving and caring for those around us or those we like!
Inherent in this reading is a call to show Mercy towards all; - no matter our feelings towards them, - as nobody is excluded from the Love of God; - which means a readiness to show Mercy to all has to be an essential component of our own love!
And then we have the final unexpected statement; - “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete”; - where we are told what we know in or hearts to be true; - namely when we show merciful love to others, we experience true happiness and joy; - because we know this to be “right”; - and how we would like to be treated ourselves!
Gospel Acclamation John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
First reading Acts 15:7-21 ·
I rule that we do not make things more difficult for the pagans who turn to God
After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and the elders.
‘My brothers,’ he said ‘you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.’
This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.
When they had finished it was James who spoke. ‘My brothers,’ he said ‘listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:
After that I shall return
and rebuild the fallen House of David;
I shall rebuild it from its ruins
and restore it.
Then the rest of mankind,
all the pagans who are consecrated to my name,
will look for the Lord,
says the Lord who made this known so long ago.
‘I rule, then, that instead of making things more difficult for pagans who turn to God, we send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town, and is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath.’