Lord, I believe that you are here with me. I am privileged to have this private audience with you. Aware of my weakness, I hope in your mercy and love. I open my heart now to you, to the wisdom, mercy and good news of your Gospel, for through it you wish to guide me home to rest eternally with you in heaven. Thank you for your boundless love. Take my weak, poor love in return, as it is all I have to offer you.
1. This Is How They Will Know You Are My Disciples: Nowadays, words alone are empty; they need to be backed up by actions. All too often we have experienced that zealous politician or marketer who makes promises that we instinctively know are too good to be true. We want to believe the good they promise, but experience has taught us to have a healthy sense of skepticism. Unfortunately, this contemporary disbelief of “too good to be true” could also be said of Christianity. Christians are to be known by their love for one another. In my marriage, with my children, and in my social circle, am I known for my Christ-like love? In particular, am I capable of accepting others as they are, of seeing their way of being in a good light? Though I set high standards, do my spouse and children truly find rest, light and solace in my company?
2. Love Has High Standards: The film “Love Story” had a classic line: “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” As Christians, though, we are aware of our weak nature and tendency to sin. We need to ask pardon – frequently. More often than not, the souls we hurt are those closest to us: our spouse, a child, a parent or in-law. The disciples, too, had their squabbles with each other. The love that bound them exhorted them to make peace with one another as Christ makes peace with his Church: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Is my love great enough to overlook the weaknesses of those who hurt me and turn my wounded ego to compassion and pardon? To err is human, but to forgive is divine.
3. Love Is from the Heart: Christ told his disciples, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). This applies as well to harboring grudges in our hearts. Love goes beyond kind words and actions to the very heart of man: to our thoughts. Although it may initially cause distress to our will to think well of those who have hurt us, it is truly therapeutic! Our Lord said, “From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy” (Matthew 15:19). Likewise, a heart that actively looks for the good in others will form the habit of speaking well and acting kindly towards those who naturally are displeasing. Thinking well of others renews our faith in God’s mercy. If we are merciful, how much more we can expect Our Lord to be patient and merciful with us!
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Acts of the Apostles 14,21b-27.
|After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.|
|They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."|
|They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.|
|Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.|
|After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.|
|From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished.|
|And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.|
|The LORD is gracious and merciful,|
|slow to anger and of great kindness.|
|The LORD is good to all|
|and compassionate toward all his works.|
|Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,|
|and let your faithful ones bless you.|
|Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom|
|and speak of your might.|
|Making known to men your might|
|and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.|
|Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,|
|and your dominion endures through all generations.|
Book of Revelation 21,1-5a.
|Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.|
|I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.|
|I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God).|
|He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away."|
|The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true."|
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 13,31-33a.34-35.
|When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.|
|(If God is glorified in him,) God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.|
|My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you.|
|I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.|
|This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."|