5th Week of Easter
Bl. Damian Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’I
1st Reading: Acts 15:7-21
As the discussions became heated, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that from the beginning God chose me among you so that non-Jews could hear the Good News from me and believe. God, who can read hearts, put himself on their side by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them and cleansed their hearts through faith. So why do you want to put God to the test? Why do you lay on the disciples a burden that neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry? We believe, indeed, that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”
The whole assembly kept silent as they listened to Paul and Barnabas tell of all the miraculous signs and wonders that God had done through them among the non-Jews.
After they had finished, James spoke up, “Listen to me, brothers. Symeon has just explained how God first showed his care by taking a people for himself from non-Jewish nations. And the words of the prophets agree with this, for Scripture says,
After this I will return and re-build the booth of David which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again. Then the rest of humanity will look for the Lord, and all the nations will be consecrated to my Name. So says the Lord, who does today what he decided from the beginning.
Because of this, I think that we should not make difficulties for those non-Jews who are turning to God. Let us just tell them not to eat food that is unclean from having been offered to idols; to keep themselves from prohibited marriages; and not to eat the flesh of animals that have been strangled, or any blood. For from the earliest times Moses has been taught in every place, and every Sabbath his laws are recalled.”
Gospel: John 15:9-11
Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
“I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
Joy takes the heaviness out of everything; it puts a spring in your step! Yes, it does not last forever. Joy is always saying goodbye, said Keats (but he said it better than that): “And joy, whose hand is ever at his lips, bidding adieu.” Equally joy is always just arriving. It couldn’t be always saying goodbye unless it was always arriving too! In other words, it is a living and not a dead thing. It cannot be owned and imprisoned; we must not image that we can be continuously joyful. It comes and goes according to its own nature: it is a gift from God.
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