Thursday, April 28, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

First Reading: Acts 15:7-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 96:1-3, 10
Gospel: John 15:9-11

 The Luminous Mystery

First Reading:  Acts 15:7-21

The Council at Jerusalem

7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

8 And God, who knoweth the hearts, gave testimony, giving unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as to us;

9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore, why tempt you God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

11 But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, in like manner as they also.

12 And all the multitude held their peace; and they heard Barnabas and Paul telling what great signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying: Men, brethren, hear me.

14 Simon hath related how God first visited to take of the Gentiles a people to his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written:

16 After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and the ruins thereof I will rebuild, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all nations upon whom my name is invoked, saith the Lord, who doth these things.

18 To the Lord was his own work known from the beginning of the world.

19 For which cause I judge that they, who from among the Gentiles are converted to God, are not to be disquieted.

20 But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him in the synagogues, where he is read every sabbath.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 96:1-3, 10

Praise to God Who Comes in Judgement

A canticle for David himself, when the house was built after the captivity. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: shew forth his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the Gentiles: his wonders among all people.

10 Say ye among the Gentiles, the Lord hath reigned. For he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved: he will judge the people with justice.

Gospel: John 15:9-11

Jesus the True Vine

 9 As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love.

10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father's commandments, and do abide in his love.

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled.

 "Abide in my love"

Do you know the love that no earthly power nor death itself can destroy? The love of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ is a creative, life-giving love that produces immeasurable joy and lasting friendship for all who accept it. God loves the world so much because he created it to reflect his glory. And he created each one of us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). He wants us to be united with himself in an inseparable bond of unity, peace, and joy that endures for all eternity. That is why the Father sent his Son, the Lord Jesus, into the world, not to condemn it, but to redeem it from the curse of sin and death (John 3:16-17). Paul the Apostle tells us that we can abound in joy and hope because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

Through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, God offers pardon for all of our sins and failings, and he calls us to lay aside everything that might hold us back from loving him above all else. We owe him a debt of gratitude and love in return. We can never outmatch God because he has loved us first and has given himself to us without measure. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding mercy and kindness towards us. In God's love alone can we find the fulness of abundant life, peace, and joy.

A new commandment of love 
The Lord Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment - a new way of love that goes beyond giving only what is required or what we think others might deserve. What is the essence of Jesus' new commandment of love? It is love to the death - a purifying love that overcomes selfishness, fear, and pride. It is a total giving of oneself for the sake of others - a selfless and self-giving love that is oriented towards putting the welfare of others ahead of myself.

There is no greater proof in love than the sacrifice of one's life for the sake of another. Jesus proved his love by giving his life for us on the cross of Calvary. Through the shedding of his blood for our sake, our sins are not only washed clean, but new life is poured out for us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We prove our love for God and for one another when we embrace the way of the cross. What is the cross in my life? When my will crosses with God's will, then God's will must be done. Do you know the peace and joy of a life fully surrendered to God and consumed with his love?

"Lord Jesus, may I always grow in the joy and hope which your promises give me. Inflame my heart with love for you and your ways and with charity and compassion for my neighbor. May there be nothing in my life which keeps me from your love."

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

“The whole assembly fell silent and listened.”

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Councils, conclaves, conferences, conventions, and committees! Then there are summits, assemblies, reunions, and all kinds of ways we gather together for   learning, gathering information, and to make communal, congregational, ecclesial, organizational and even family decisions. Sometime, too, we meet to resolve differences, and to understand more deeply the movement of the Spirit in times of important matters to be addressed. So we can hope! Do we experience silence and truly listen?

This is where we find the setting of our first reading. The early church gathers to figure out what is happening as the Spirit has sent apostles and disciples to the ends of the earth to share the Good News. Now there is the matter of Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) forming the community of believers. “God, the Holy Spirit, made no distinction between them for by faith God purified their hearts.” As Paul and Barnabas recall the words of the prophets and the saving grace of the Christ, Jesus, silence fell and the assembly listened. How important it is to discern and recognize the presence of the Spirit in the voices that speak. Perhaps the assembly remembers, too, the words of Jesus in the Gospel of today, to “remain in my love.” This decision is the matter of the heart, love, faith, and of trust. No longer are they Gentile or Jew, but one in the Christ.  

Attending to the movements of the heart, and listening to the Spirit through prayer, is often referred to as discernment. We can experience this through individual or communal discernment processes. It is a path for clarity, a process to help make decisions, but most essentially, it is a way of living. It is a daily consciousness of being aware that the Spirit is alive and active within us, and in life.  All we need to do is to be attentive. To be silent and to listen!

I am a person who actually enjoys meetings. I find them to be opportunities for creativity, exchange and reconciliation. I attend them knowing and trusting in the presence of the Spirit to guide and to enlighten.   So, if you are at a meeting and there seems to be an impasse…. STOP, PRAY AND LISTEN!

A prayer of discernment: Prayer Before the Crucifix, by St. Francis of Assisi

Most high and glorious God,
Enlighten the darkness of my (our) heart,
Give me (us) correct faith, certain hope and perfect charity.
Give me (us) insight and wisdom
So I (we) may always discern your holy and true command.

God’s holy and true command? “Love one another!  Remain in my love!” We are told this so that     “God’s joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.” 

May you enjoy your next meeting!    

by Sr. Candice Tucci, O.S.F.
Creighton University's Chaplain of the College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer


Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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