Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 15:7-21, Psalm 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 10, & John 15:9-11
In today’s scripture readings, we have an extended first reading and a short second reading, but the Gospel of Saint John highlights the theme from the Acts of the Apostles.
Listening to Jesus telling His friends and us that as He has loved us, so should we love one another is so comforting and sounds like the exact thing we would want and should do. Jesus tells us that He encourages us to love so that His joy and our joy may be complete.
We have a wonderful story in the first reading, which shows just how demanding true love in Christ can be. Peter and Paul and others are discussing with those who have converted to the following of Jesus. The question before the assembly is if the new Gentile converts are required to do some of the religious practices which the Jewish converts once practiced.
Peter tells it like it is by saying, “Our belief is rather that we are saved by the favor of the Lord Jesus, and so are they.” The love of God has made us all God’s chosen family, and loving each other is the new law that replaces all other religious practices which once constituted a person as “righteous.”
The early church had its growing pains and even arguments. As we see in this reading from Acts, compassionate understanding and gentle “Christ-love” is the best and only way to settle disagreements, especially with religion and religious topics.
We are praying for peace in the world and a peace that resolves social injustice. We pray for those areas of our world which suffer from wars and hatred in the name of religion. The act of religious persecution in our world remains a heartbreaking reality. Hate and suspicion need to be distanced, and love and compassion need to be embraced by all.
Jesus, our Comforter, reminds us, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.”
Question of the Day: How will you “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord as He loves and serves you?”
Prayer: My Lord and my God, I trust in You. Let me humbly and devoutly submit myself to Your holy will, which is love and joy. Amen.