Reflection on the Daily Readings for 5/14/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Thurs. of 5th week of Easter. Acts 15:7-21. Psalm 96:1-2.2-3.10.
John 15:9-11.Lectionary # 288:

What a beautiful and exhilarating passage from Jesus' final discourse!  As
his intimate friends, his disciples, we listen carefully and realize that
Jesus has given us a great message for this Easter Season.  We are to
experience the love of God through him and also the fullness of joy. With
these gifts our life is really worth living even with some of the obstacles
and stages we go through naturally.  In looking at the passage you will see
that the word for love is mentioned five times and that the passage ends
with two expressions of joy. John is the evangelist of love and joy. He
uses these words more than Luke who is often associated with joy. In fact,
John uses the forms of agape/agapan some 105 times within his Gospel and
Epistles. Revelation was not written by the Evangelist but by a later
disciple named John, a very common name then and now. In our succinct
passage love and joy are used seven times--the number of fullness for the
culture of Judaism in which John was raised.

We can meditate on this passage in its entirety or on these two verses:"You
will live in my love if you keep my commandments...I tell you all this that
my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete."  Now that is wonderful
news, Good News, Gospel news.

In the first reading we see that Peter who was featured with John in the
earlier part of Acts, now takes the lead in the gathering of the apostles
and disciples in what is perhaps the first church council.  Peter shows
those listening and discerning that the love Jesus has for everyone makes
no distinctions between Jew and Greek (Gentile).  Peter tells the group,
"He makes no distinction between them and us, but purified their hearts by
means of faith also."  The joy and love seen above in the Gospel had to be
present in the gathering for this is extended to the Gentiles who will not
have to undergo circumcision nor follow the Mosaic law. The Holy Spirit is
the Person who makes the difference in this council:"God who reads the
hearts of everyone, showed his approval by granting the Holy Spirit to them
just as he did to us."

In our psalm for today and its responsorial verse we pray: "Proclaim his
marvelous deeds to all the nations.  Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds."