May 19, 2019

5th Sun., Easter

May 19, 2019:  Fifth Sunday of Easter

  • 'Sailboat' tie bar:  Paul and Barnabas sailed around (1st reading)
  • 'Knocker' pin:  God opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (1st reading)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  God will be with his people forever (2nd reading); I will praise you forever,... (psalm)
  • 'Crown' tie bar: king and God (psalm); the One on the throne (2nd reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "He will wipe every tear from their eyes." (2nd reading)
  • 'Hearts' tie:  "New commandment: love one another." (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season
For the gospel

For 2nd reading
For Psalm 145
For next week
Today's gospel takes us to the Upper Room to hear words Jesus addressed to his disciples before his passion.  After he washed their feet, he told them, “I give you a new commandment:  love one another as I have loved you.”  But since God ordered people to love their neighbor in the Old Testament, and Jesus already said the greatest commandment of the Law was to love God, and the second to love your neighbor, how is the commandment new?  He added, "as I have loved you."  The novelty is in the love of Christ, who gave his life for us.  On the cross, he showed and gave the world the fullness of love, without conditions or limits.

Jesus loved us despite our frailties, limitations, and weaknesses.  He made us worthy of his limitless love.  In giving us the new commandment, he asks us to love not only with our love, but his, the love the Spirit infuses into us if we invoke him with faith.  Only then can we love as he loved us and spread the seed of love that renews relationships, opens horizons of hope, and makes us the new People of God, the Church, in which everyone is called to love Christ and in him love one another.

The love manifested in the Cross is the only force that transforms our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended us, makes us see the other as a present or future member of the community of Jesus' friends, stimulates us to dialogue, and helps us listen to and know one another.  Love opens us up to others, enables us to overcome our weaknesses and prejudices, creates bridges, teaches new ways, and triggers fraternity.


  • Acts 14:21-27  Paul and Barnabas made many disciples, then returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch to strengthen the disciples and exhort them to persevere through hardships.  They appointed elders and commended them to the Lord, proclaimed the word at Perga, then went to Attalia and Antioch.  They reported to the Church what God had done and how he opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
  • Ps 145:8-13 "I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God."  The Lord is gracious, kind, merciful, slow to anger, good, and compassionate.  May your faithful ones praise you and speak of your might.  Your kingdom endures forever.
  • Rev 21:1-5a  I saw a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem coming down from God, prepared as a bride for her husband.  A voice from the throne said, “God’s dwelling is with the human race.  They will be his people and God will be with them.  I make all things new.”
  • Jn 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 God will glorify him at once.  My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.  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.”
  • CreightonJesus gave his disciples the new commandment of love right after Judas left. How often have I "left" and so missed out on God’s self-revelation?  Is loving only people like us loving as Jesus has loved us??  Lord, make us, our communities, and our world open to love.
  • One Bread, One Body"Hard lessons":  Paul and Barnabas warned their disciples that they must must undergo trials to enter God's kingdom, though Jesus' "yoke is easy and burden light."  The Lord will eventually abolish evil, death, mourning, and pain but hasn't yet.  By sin, we harden our hearts. Hard objects can be broken up by other harder ones.  The Lord can use hard lives to open our hearts. He lets us "learn the hard way" so we'll repent, give our lives to him, and not enter everlasting hardness.  "Hear his voice:  'Harden not your hearts.'"  If we open our hearts to the Lord, he'll let us share the hard sufferings of his cross and open hard hearts.
  • PassionistIn "Do you love me?" from Fiddler on the Roof, Golde answers Tevye with a list of what she does for him, then "I suppose I do."  Paul says, “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.”  Love is the foundation of our spiritual and moral life. If only it were easy to love unconditionally like Jesus.  Life is full of hate, exclusion, hoarding, injustice, lies, and killing.  Even people who put Jesus at the center of their lives despise, divide, lie, and cheat.  But with the commandment, Jesus gives us the resources we need to carry it out, including our communities, the sacraments, and other sources of grace....
  •"Love one another as I have loved you":  The cross of Jesus reveals God's love and mercy for us.  I can offer no greater honor than sacrificing my life for another.  Love is total self-giving and offering one's life for another.  The Father showed his love by offering his Son as atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world.  "To ransom a slave You gave away Your Son" (Exsusltet).  That's why Jesus gave us the new commandment of love, not to replace the Old Testament commandment to love my neighbor as myself. The new commandment transforms the old with the love Jesus poured out for us on the Cross, where death was defeated, sin was forgiven, and Satan's power was crushed.  Jesus proved love is stronger than death.
God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love (Augustine).  God's love is direct, personal, and oriented to our good.  Nothing can separate us from it but our pride and self-deception; we sin because we love ourselves more than God and others.  "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us."  If we yield to Jesus and submit to his will, the Spirit will purify all that is unloving in us.  The Lord wants to transform us so we can understand his word of truth and life that can set us free.  The power of the triumphant cross overcomes the world; I share it by embracing the cross the Lord sets before me.  What is the cross I must take up to follow the Lord?  When my will crosses God's, I must do his.  The cross sets me free to live for Christ and his kingdom.  I'm called and privileged to love and serve as Christ did and so to share in the Father's glory.  The mark of every follower of Christ is a love ready to forgive, forget, heal, and restore.  The cross is the only way to pardon, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.  If we embrace his love and truth and allow his Spirit to transform us, we'll find the freedom, joy, and strength to love, forgive, and serve.
  • Sunday-trumped saint, from UniversalisSt. Dunstan, abbot, bishop, painter, musician, metalworker, reformer, adviser to kings.

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