FIRST READING (It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities.)
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (15:1-2, 22-29)
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.
The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them:
“The apostles and the elders, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our members who went out without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey the same message by word of mouth: ‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’” —The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (67:2-3, 5, 6, 8)
R. O God, let all the nations praise you! (Ps 67:4)
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation. (R)
May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide. (R)
May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him! (R)
SECOND READING (The angel showed me the holy city coming down out of heaven.)
A reading from the Book of Revelation (21:10-14, 22-23)
The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. —The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (Jn 14:23)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. (R)
GOSPEL (The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (14:23-29)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.” —The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Celebrant: Our risen Lord’s greatest gift to us is that peace which the world cannot give. In his name, let us ask the Father for all our needs.
READER: For the Holy Father, all bishops and priests of the Church, that they may fearlessly and clearly teach the Catholic faith, (Pause) LET US
PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For true and lasting peace in the world, that peoples of all nations may work for justice, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: [SMC only: For our newly baptized and confirmed at this Mass that their lives be examples of zeal and deep faith in the Church and in
our community, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: [SMC only: For Father McCabe on his anniversary of ordination and for all priests serving as missionaries throughout the world, especially those serving in our Diocese, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE
READER: That the Holy Spirit may come anew to our community, that we make take up the call of evangelization, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
CELEBRANT: Father, receive our prayers with that same love with which you
sent your Son to be the sacrifice who takes away our sins. We ask this,
through Christ our Lord. (all) AMEN.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him, and we will come to him,
and make our dwelling with him!”
A question that is implied throughout the various RCIA programmes we have sponsored in our parish might be, “Do you want our Lord to come to you and dwell within the depths of your soul?” The way to make this action of the loving God happen is to keep His word. So that, in doing this, “The blessed Trinity will come to dwell within you.”
We should note that the love of God appears in this passage to be contingent on or depend upon our love of Him. In other words, does God only love us when we love Him first? Strictly speaking, God always loves us with a perfect love regardless of whether or not we love Him. However, love for us takes on an entire new form when it is both received and then reciprocated. When we CHOOSE to love God, we suddenly realize that our love for Him opens the door for Him to come and dwell within us, and transforms us, making our heart His holy sanctuary. That is a glorious gift!
As a side comment, a good friend of mind heard a recent talk by the well-known Bishop Barron, but was confused by something he said, where he spoke of giving God’s love away ‘so that it would remain with us.’ What is meant here is that when we not only receive God’s love but willingly, selflessly give this same love to others, we do not “lose it,” nor is it diminished. Rather it is transformed into true agape – a LOVE that is imbedded into our very being.
The love of God also means that we are obedient to Him, This is part of the very nature of God. He is LOVE itself and, therefore, loving Him will involve our complete submission of our will to His. Just as married love is caught up in such a similar exchange of gifts, exchange receiving and giving of love so that the married love grows and flourishes, perfect love of God is reflected in submission and obedience to His will. It is the way we show our love. By allowing God to dwell within us, in that very act we allow God to take over our will, as seen each time we recite, “Your will be done.” Not MY will but YOURS.
As we witness these brothers and sisters of ours who will now receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, let us also unite spiritually with them in inviting the Holy Trinity to come and dwell in our soul. This should be the goal of every baptized person’s life. If God lives within us then all else in our life will fall into its proper place. All things will work for the good and God will be glorified in and through us.
On a very personal note, as I mark 45 years of serving the Lord with another occasion of baptizing people into the faith, I humbly realize it is God’s love for me that has impelled me, sent me out to share that love with others, and I am humbled each time that love is reciprocated through a selfless act of faith. Yes, truly, the Lord has used me as his instrument, sending me to many corners of the world to speak and not be afraid, because His love is with me and remains working through me.
Yes, Lord, I desire to continue to love you above all in a more perfect way. Help me each day to submit to YOUR perfect will in all things. Help me to embrace a life of perfect obedience to you. And in that act of reciprocal love – received and shared – come and make Your dwelling within me because I am not afraid, and I trust always in you.