The Sixth Sunday of Easter
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
In today's readings, the person of God is clearly defined for us. In each of our readings, we hear an aspect of God's boundless love; all saying the same thing: God isLove!
In our first reading (Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48), we hear about Peter visiting the home of Cornelius, the (Gentile) Centurion. While Peter is speaking, the Holy Spirit descends upon all who are listening. Thus, It is clear to Peter and those with him that "God shows no partiality" and that "whoever fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to him", Jews and Gentiles alike.
When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, "Get up. I myself am also a human being." Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him."
While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?" He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
In today's Gospel (John 15:9-17), we hear the continuation of Jesus' teaching from last Sunday's Gospel on the vine and the branches. In this segment, Jesus describes what love is and who the Father is (Love). The kicker at the end - "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you."
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 might be complete. 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."
In our Epistle reading (1 John 4:7-10), St. John describes God as being Love itself. It is not just an attribute of God, it is who God is. There can be no better or clearer description of who God is. It is this Love that sent his only son as "expiation for our sins."
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Here is a personal reflection on what it means that God is Love: All the many ways that we refer to God are anthropomorphic in nature, meaning they are human characteristics we assign to God in an effort to understand what is beyond our understanding, except one - Love. Love is not a human characteristic we assign to God, it is God's character that he assigns to us. To love is to be like God; it is how we are in the image of God. For anyone who has ever loved another person so completely as to sacrifice everything for the good of that person, has seen God.
- Click HERE to read and reflect on the full readings for Sunday, May 6