26May 26 May, 2019.

6th Sunday of Easter

1st Reading: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29

The apostolic  leaders make decisions with the consent of the whole church

Some individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this?

Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.

Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds, we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

Responsorial: Psalm 66: 2-3, 5-6, 8

Response: O God, let all the nations praise you!

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help. (R./)

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth. (R./)

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him. (R./)

2nd Reading: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23

In his exile on Patmos, John paints a dazzling picture of the new Jerusalem

In the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using. The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Gospel: John 14:23-29

At the Last Supper, Jesus says he is going to the Father

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.


BIBLE

A Special Goodbye

French offers more precision than English when people are about to part. They have several ways of saying “Goodbye” depending on whether the absence will be short or long. For everyday brief separations, they use Au revoir (until we next meet). The more sombre Adieu is reserved for a more final departure, and means, literally, “until we meet in heaven.” Our journey through life includes a succession of Au revoirs and Adieus. The Adieus grow more frequent as we grow older. Our hearts and memories are peopled with faces that once were dear to us, but who have passed from our lives never to reappear again. If their names crop up in conversation we say either, “May the Lord grant them rest,” or “I wonder what ever became of them.”  Life is a series of separations until our own death becomes our  last great Adieu.

A positive way of coping with the many Goodbyes in life, is to see ourselves as a pilgrim people, on the move. We need faithful friends who travel with us on this journey, which has a worthwhile destination, over the horizon. Jesus alerts his disciples that he will soon be leaving them, and leaving this earth, by ascension into heaven. His farewell is not the definitive Adieu but a kind of Au revoir. “I am going away, but I shall return.” We never really say goodbye to the Son of God, for he stays always with us.

In recent decades we are aware of how many immigrants leave their families, friends and culture and settle, often penniless, in an alien environment, far from home. It’s notable how soon they begin to settle in their new environment by building themselves a place of worship. Such was the case with the Irish in America or Australia. Such is the case today with immigrant Muslims building mosques all over Europe. Their relationship with God is what they cling on to.

God keeps his promise to be with us always. He will always keep his pledge. It is up to us to keep ours. When we come to the end of life’s pilgrimage and make our last goodbye, it will be literally Adieu, “going to God.”

 


LAST WISHES OF JESUS

As Jesus says goodbye to his disciples, he sees them sad and scared. They feel they are seeing the last of their beloved Master. What will happen when he is gone? Who will guide them now and show them how to proceed? Jesus wants to encourage them by his final words. His great desire is that His Good News of God will not be forgetten. His followers must keep alive the ideal of the Father’s humanizing “kingdom of God.” He wants them to hold fast to what they learned from him. “Whoever loves me will stay true to my words … whoever does not love me do not keep them.”

After twenty centuries, what we have done with the Gospel of Jesus? Do we keep it faithfully or do we care only for our own personal interests? Do we keep Jesus alive  in our hearts or are we forgetting him? Do we honestly present his message have we overlaid it with specious, self-serving doctrines?

“I give you my peace” he says. He wants to make our own the special kind of peace that was his welling up from his intimate union with the Father. His peace will blossom in our heart if we accept the Spirit of Jesus. We must never lose that peace. Jesus insists: “Do not be troubled or afraid”.

After twenty centuries, why does fear for the future paralyze us from spreading his peace, his outlook? Why does our church seem so defensive, so inward-looking? There are many people our there who are hungry for meaning, who want to find a more spiritual dimension in life. Pope Francis is a true gift from God for our church today, urging us to appreciate and share the Good News. Our times invite us to move to be more faithful to Jesus and his Gospel Church.
(José Antonio Pagola)


Faith and action

Obedientia, the Latin for obeying, literally means to listen hard, to focus one’s hearing on something. The first rule of the road that we all learned was “Stop! Look! Listen!” Before you cross the railway tracks, stop and listen. There may be a train coming.

“I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart.” What a beautiful promise, what a special gift. Peace is not the absence of war. It is the presence of something real and tangible. It is something I can experience, a gift we have received. But it also comes with an invitation, like a card that includes RSVP. The sender is expecting a response from us. Every word of Jesus calls for a response. A rule of thumb is to learn to listen, then listen to learn..

Believing with my head alone is no more than mental faith. Just being able to recite the apostles’ creed is not the living faith that sustains life. Faith is not just in the head, it is also in the heart, and it must eventually makes its way to my hands and feet. The message of the gospel is simple and direct. There is not one “maybe” in all the words of Jesus. The response to faith must be practical; it entails doing what God wants of me. I must be ready to step out and act on his example and in his name.


Creideamh agus gníomh

Níl níos mó sa creidiúint le mo cheann ahmáin ná creidiúnú meabhrach. Níl creideamh é Cré na n-Aspal a rá le mo bheóla. Níl an chreidiúint sa cheann, tá sé sa chroí freisin, agus caithfidh sé bealach a dhéanamh fós chun mo lámha agus mo chosa. Tá teachtaireacht an soiscéil simplí agus díreach. Níl aon b’fhéidir ann i ngach focal Íosa. An freagra cheart ar chreideamh caithfidh sé bheith praiticiúil. Is é atá i gceist an méid a theastaíonn le Dia uaim. Caithfidh mé a bheith réidh dul amach agus bheith gníomhach ar shampla agus in ainm Íosa.

CANDLE

Saint Philip Neri

Filippo Romolo Neri (1515-1595), affectionately known as the apostle of Rome, was an Italian priest noted for kindness and compassion and a special ministry of mercy. He founded a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory (Oratorians).


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