Gospel Reflection – Sunday, May 5, 2024 – John 15:9-17 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 10,25-26,34-35,44-48)

Reading from the Acts of the Apostles:

When Peter was about to enter the house, Cornelius came out to meet him, fell at his feet and prostrated himself. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Arise. I, too, am but a man.”

Then, Peter took the floor and said: “Indeed, I understand that God does not make distinctions between people. On the contrary, he accepts whoever fears him and practices righteousness, whatever nation he belongs to.”

Peter was still speaking when the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. The faithful of Jewish origin, who had come with Peter, were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the pagans. For they heard them speaking and praising the greatness of God in strange tongues. Then Peter said: “Can we, by chance, deny the water of baptism to these people who have received, like us, the Holy Spirit?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They then asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (1Jo 4,7-10)

Reading of the First Letter of Saint John:

Dear friends: Let us love one another, because love comes from God and everyone who loves was born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. This is how God’s love was manifested among us: God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. This is what love consists of: it was not we who loved God, but it was he who loved us and sent his Son as the victim of reparation for our sins.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (John 15,9-17)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “As my Father has loved me, so have I 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 the I have told you this, so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full. This is my commandment: love one another, just as I have loved you. who lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master does. I call you friends. that I heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but it was I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. This is what I command you: love one another.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, may the peace of the Lord be with you all!

Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a simple but profound question: what is the essence of love? In our daily lives, we are constantly faced with different concepts and expressions of love. The world tells us that love is selfish, that it only seeks its own pleasure and interest. But the Scriptures reveal to us a deeper, more transformative truth.

In today’s biblical passages, we are invited to delve into this divine understanding of love. In the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles, we witness the story of Cornelius and Peter. Cornelius was a pious man, who feared God and sought to live according to his will. Peter, in turn, receives a vision of heaven and finds himself facing one who, according to Jewish laws, would be considered unclean.

This experience challenges Peter’s understanding of love and the scope of salvation. He realizes that God is no respecter of persons, but welcomes all who fear Him and practice justice. This revelation transforms Peter’s life and leads him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, sharing the message of salvation with them.

My beloved, this story teaches us that God’s love transcends human borders and barriers. It is not limited to a specific race, culture or nation. God’s love is universal, embracing all of his children, regardless of their origin or condition. It is a love that welcomes, forgives and transforms lives.

In the second reading, the apostle John reveals to us the true nature of love: “Let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7). Love is not just an emotion or a passing feeling. It is a powerful force that flows from the very heart of God. He loved us first, sending His Son Jesus into the world as concrete proof of that love.

My friends, God’s love is not selfish or self-serving. He is sacrificial, generous and unconditional. John goes on to tell us: “In this the love of God toward us was manifested: in that he sent his only Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). God’s love is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us on the cross.

Through this sacrifice, Jesus showed us the path of true love. He gave us a clear and powerful commandment: “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). These words are not simply optional advice, but an urgent and transformative call.

My brothers and sisters, the love that Jesus teaches us goes beyond the superficial and fleeting love of the world. It is a love that gives itself completely, without reservations. It is a love that cares about the well-being of others, that seeks the growth and happiness of others.

Jesus calls us to love not only those who love us, but also those who are difficult to love, those who hurt us and hurt us. He challenges us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5:44). It is a love that goes beyond the borders of our own social circle and extends to the excluded, the marginalized, the needy.

To better understand the meaning of this love, let me tell you a story. There was once a young girl named Maria, who had an elderly neighbor named Ana. Ana lived alone and faced many difficulties in her life. She had no close relatives and her health was deteriorating.

Mary, moved by the love of Christ, decided to take care of Ana. She visited her regularly, helped her with her daily tasks, brought her food and medicine. Maria had no obligation to do this, but her heart overflowed with compassion and love for others. She understood that love was not just a feeling, but a concrete action.

Over time, Maria realized that the act of loving and caring for Ana not only brought comfort and joy to the elderly woman’s life, but also transformed her own life. She experienced the joy of giving without expecting anything in return, of reaching out to someone who could not reciprocate. The love of Christ flowed through her, becoming tangible and transformative.

My beloved, this story teaches us that love is not passive, but active. He calls us to step out of our comfort zone, to reach out to those around us and make a difference in their lives. Love is not just an emotion we feel, but a choice we make every day.

As we look at the life of Jesus, we see that He not only talked about love, but lived it fully. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the afflicted, and forgave sinners. He washed His disciples’ feet like a servant, showing them the example of true humble love.

And so, my brothers and sisters, we are called to imitate the example of Jesus in our own lives. We are called to love as He loved, to forgive as He forgave, and to serve as He served. This may seem like a difficult and challenging task, but we are not alone on this journey.

The Holy Spirit himself dwells within us, empowering us to love the way God calls us. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our actions and words, He transforms us, molding us into the image of Christ. He empowers us to love beyond our own limitations and expectations.

So, my friends, how can we apply these truths to our daily lives? How can we live the commandment of love in our daily lives?

First, we must seek an intimate and personal relationship with God. Through prayer, reading the Scriptures, and the sacraments, we are strengthened and nourished by his grace. This communion with God empowers us to love others in authentic and transformative ways.

Second, we must be attentive to the needs of others around us. Love is often expressed in the little things: a smile, a kind word, a kind gesture. Let us be open and sensitive to opportunities to serve and love others.

Third, we need to forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful act of love, both for ourselves and for others. When we forgive, we release the weight of resentment and make space for healing and reconciliation.

Finally, we cannot forget that love also requires patience and perseverance. It’s not always easy to love, especially when we encounter resistance or when circumstances are difficult. But with God’s grace, we can persevere in love, trusting that He is working in and through us.

My brothers and sisters, today we are challenged to a deeper understanding of love. A love that transcends borders, that is sacrificial and that calls us to action. May we respond to this call, allowing God’s love to flow freely in our lives.

May we love as Jesus loved, with generous hearts and hands extended to those in need. May we be bearers of hope, healing and reconciliation in a world that so needs God’s love.

May God’s love shine through us, illuminating the darkness, transforming lives and bringing glory to his name.

So be it. Amen.