Gospel Reflection – Tuesday, May 14, 2024 – John 15:9-17 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 1,15-17,20-26)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, Peter stood up among his brothers and said: “Brethren, what the Holy Spirit, through David, announced in the Scripture about Judas, who became the guide of those who arrested Jesus, must be fulfilled. Judas was one of ours and participated in the same ministry. In fact, in the book of Psalms it is written: ‘Let his dwelling be deserted, neither shall there be any man to dwell there!’ And again: ‘Let another take his place!’

There are men who accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus lived among us, starting with John’s baptism until the day he was taken up to heaven. Now, one of them needs to join us to be a witness to his resurrection.” Then they presented two men: Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was called Justus, and Matthias. Then they said this prayer: “Lord, you know everyone’s hearts. Show us which of these two you chose to occupy, in this ministry and apostolate, the place that Judas abandoned to follow his destiny! Then they drew lots between the two. The lot fell on Matthias, who was added to the number of the eleven apostles.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

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 his love.

And 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, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than the one 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 is doing. I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything 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 to bear fruit and for your fruit to 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 dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Imagine for a moment a young tree planted in a vast, open field. At first, its roots are fragile, its branches are thin, and its leaves are few. However, as time passes, this tree grows, its roots deepen, its branches expand and its leaves multiply. As it grows, it becomes a refuge for birds, a shade for the weary, and a beauty to all who pass by. We, like this tree, are called to grow and flourish on our path of faith, fed by God’s grace and love. Today, as we reflect on the readings from the Acts of the Apostles and John, we are invited to deepen our roots in the love of Christ and become instruments of his peace and joy.

In the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles, we see a crucial moment in the life of the primitive community: the choice of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot. This event reminds us that the Church is called to be a community of service, guided by the Holy Spirit. Peter stands up among the brothers and, with discernment and prayer, they choose the one who would continue the mission of witnessing the resurrection of Jesus.

This passage teaches us the importance of community and discernment. In our lives, we often face difficult decisions, moments when we need to seek divine guidance. Just as the apostles joined together in prayer, we too are called to seek God’s will in our everyday decisions. This process is not just for big decisions, but also for the small daily choices that shape our walk of faith.

Moving on to the Gospel of John, Jesus offers us a profound teaching about love. He says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Remain in my love” (John 15:9). This invitation to remain in His love is a call to live a life of intimacy with Jesus. It is not a superficial or conditional love, but a deep, sacrificial and constant love.

To illustrate this love, let’s consider the branch and vine metaphor that Jesus uses in John 15. Imagine a branch separated from the vine; it withers, dries up, and eventually dies. However, when the branch remains united to the vine, it receives the vital sap, grows, blossoms and bears fruit. Likewise, our spiritual life depends on our ongoing connection with Jesus. Separated from Him, our faith weakens and our spiritual life dries up. But, united with Him, we find strength, purpose and the ability to bear fruits of love, joy and peace.

Jesus gives us a clear commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). This love is not just a feeling, but an action. It is a call to live in service, sacrifice and care for others. Jesus’ love is exemplified in His own life – He washed the disciples’ feet, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ultimately gave His life on the cross for us.

How can we apply this commandment in our daily lives? Let’s start with small gestures of love and kindness. Maybe it’s visiting a lonely neighbor, offering help to an overwhelmed coworker, or simply listening attentively and compassionately to someone who needs to vent. These acts, however small they may seem, are tangible manifestations of Christ’s love in and through us.

Repeating the commandment to love one another throughout our Christian walk is a constant reminder of our mission. Jesus knows that in our humanity we need to be reminded again and again of the importance of love. In a world often marked by divisions, conflicts and indifference, we are called to be light and witnesses of God’s transforming love.

Let us now reflect on the image of the fruit that Jesus uses. He tells us: “I chose you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). What does it mean to bear fruit? It means living a life that reflects the character of Christ—a life of kindness, patience, faithfulness, and self-control. It means impacting those around us in a positive way, being living witnesses of the gospel.

Imagine a tree loaded with healthy and delicious fruits. People approach her to satisfy their hunger and find joy. Likewise, when we live according to the teachings of Jesus, we become a source of blessing to others. Our love, joy and peace attract people and point to the source of our strength – Jesus Christ.

Now, let us consider how we can cultivate this fruit in our lives. Just as a tree needs sun, water and fertile soil, we also need the means of grace: prayer, reading the Scriptures, the sacraments and fellowship with other believers. These are the nutrients that sustain us and allow us to grow and flourish spiritually.

Throughout our journey, we will face challenges and difficulties. There will be times of spiritual drought, winds of adversity and storms of doubt. However, if we remain steadfast in our connection with Christ, He will sustain and strengthen us. It is in perseverance that we find growth and maturity.

Let us now, in silence, reflect on these words. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your hearts and reveal areas where you can grow in love and service.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we conclude this reflection, let us remember that we were chosen and called by God to a life of love and service. Just as the apostles sought divine guidance to choose Matthias, let us always seek God’s will in our lives. And, abiding in the love of Christ, we will bear fruit that glorifies God and brings joy and hope to the world.

Let us now lift our hearts in prayer, asking the Lord to help us live in accordance with these teachings, being faithful witnesses of his love in the world.

Lord God, we thank You for Your Word that enlightens our hearts and minds. Help us to remain in Your love and produce abundant fruit in our lives. Give us the strength and courage to love and serve others as Jesus loved us. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our decisions and actions, so that we can be true disciples of Christ. In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, we pray. Amen.

May God’s grace, love and peace be with each of you, today and always. Amen.