“It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 15:22-31)
In those days: It seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole Church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, with the following letter: “The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting. Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us in assembly to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men 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 lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 57:8-9.10- 12 (R. 10a)
R/. I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples.
My heart is ready, O God;
my heart is ready.
I will sing, I will sing your praise.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, lyre and harp!
I will awake the dawn. R/.
I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples,
among the nations sing psalms to you,
for your mercy reaches to the heavens,
and your truth to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
may your glory shine on all the earth! R/.
ALLELUIA John 15:15b
Alleluia. I have called you friends, says the Lord, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. Alleluia.
“This I command you, to love one another.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 15:12-17)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man 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. This I command you, to love one another.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Bearing fruit is one of the characteristics of human being lost after the fall. Jesus restores this all-important attribute back to us. However, one’s fruits do not last until and unless one becomes a friend of Jesus. Friends of Jesus remain in his presence. Friends of Jesus are dedicated to him. They take all kinds of risks for his sake. They are honest people who do not derive joy in making other suffer. They love others to the point of death. They offer their daily activities to him. Are you a friend of Jesus? How I wish that my epitaph will bear this description: “he is a friend of Jesus”!