Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection May 05, 2024


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R/. The Lord has shown his deliverance to the nations..

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

1.       Once again, the focus of today’s Word of God is God’s love. We are reminded about the nature of God’s love, its longings, and ways, the effects, and fruits of it. We are also urged to follow the same route, experience and show the same love, and reap its fruits.

2. “Abide in love” is the clearest call of the Word of God and “abide in my love” is the clarion call of Jesus to all his followers. Only when we love God can we truly say that we are born of him and that we know him. God is love and therefore no one can love, without God and apart from Him.

3.  Therefore, in the very first place, it is very clear, why many are not able to love, neither experience it themselves nor give it to others. If God is Love itself, the fullness, the essence, and the perfection of it, then how can one love without God? It is only those who are generated by God and know God, only they can love.

4.  But, wait! We need to understand here the immense difference between God’s love and our love. God’s love is not self-centered or self-interested. It is always other-oriented. The Father loved us to such an extent as to offer His own Son as the expiation for our sins, to make us live again, all those dead by sin. The Son too loves his disciples just as the Father’s love. He loves us in such a way as to die for our sins.

5.       Thus, the love of the Father is shown in giving His own self through His Son. The love of the Son is seen in obeying the will of the Father, in his self-giving for our salvation. In other words, he proves his love for the Father by keeping the Father’s commandments, and that is self-sacrifice in love for sinful humanity.

6.       Therefore, if we are truly his disciples, then we must abide in his love. What kind of love is this? On one hand, it is self’-emptying and self-giving, and on the other hand, dignifying and filling us. That is why he no longer calls and treats us like servants but friends. He elevates our dignity and he dies for our sake. And now we can abide in this kind of his love, if only we keep his commandments. And the greatest commandment is to love one another, even to the extent of dying for the other.

7. Now, what is the fruit and effect of such a sacrificial love? In some other simple words, what do we gain if we live such love? The result is the greatest. We will obtain the Lord’s own joy. It is totally in contrast to the joy that the world gives. The worldly joy is shallow, imperfect, and transient. Many times, it is self-seeking, a self-serving joy to the detriment of others, as well as self-ruin. Instead, the joy that the Lord gives is profound, perfect, complete, and lasting. It is a joy that bears abundant fruits of love in charity and benevolence.

8.       Thus, the picture is clear and complete: God is love. We belong to God and know Him if only we abide in love. This love is self-giving in total surrender to God. This love is the greatest commandment that shows itself in total sacrifice for the other. Only thus, we will obtain His perfect and true joy. This joyful love flows out in abundant fruits of holiness and goodness.

9.       What type of love is ours? How can I say that I love God and do not do what He says? I do not obey His will and still, I claim that I love Him! I do not keep His commandments and yet I speak of loving Him! I know that loving the other selflessly is the greatest commandment, but still, willingly go on failing in fraternity and charity. This is only a mockery of God and love themselves!

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