Tag Archives: Commandment

6th Sunday of Easter: Love, the Great Commandment

Christ,_by_Heinrich_Hofmann

Study:  When in my life have I been most authentically and genuinely loving toward others?  What helped me to live this way?

Pray:  Who is difficult to love in my life right now?  Pray that the love of Christ comes into our hearts to transform us into God’s love.

Serve:  Who am I called to love today?  How can I act toward another that brings Christ’s love into their lives?

Mass Readings – 6th Sunday of Easter

The second reading from 1 John 4:7-10 and the Gospel from John 15:9-17 are as blunt and direct as the Bible delivers.  In the first and last analysis, everything we proclaim as Christians is measured and evaluated in the light of a single concept:

LOVE

And on first glance it sounds wonderful!  Love evokes many wholesome and beautiful concepts that speak to our hearts; love lifts our spirits and draws us closer together – drawing strength and peace from both God and the people around us.

Yet love is also challenging.  Love makes demands upon us to stretch beyond our normal comfort zones – thinking and acting in ways that are modeled on Jesus Christ.  Consider…

  • Forgiving our enemies
  • Seeking the good in others
  • Being the first to work at healing & reconciliation
  • Dedicated to others in times of difficulty and stress
  • Remaining positive and supportive
  • Standing up for those who are oppressed
  • Serving those who are hard to love…and seeing Christ in them

While we strive for these practical applications of love on our good days, Lord knows we need to keep working at love – especially when we are in a bad place.  Two keys thoughts can help us:

  1. Stay close to Jesus – the source of all LOVE
  2. When in doubt – act in a loving manner

The first point is simple: we cannot fulfill God’s command to love unless we are closely connected to the Son of God.  We hear that “God is love” in the 2nd reading, and we know that our lives draw grace and strength when we unite our hearts to the Lord.  Staying close to Jesus helps us to evaluate and fulfill this key commandment.

The second point is immensely practical.  Sometimes we don’t feel particularly loving!  When that happens we can move ourselves to a better place by acting in a Godly fashion…the feelings will follow eventually.  While our emotions are crucial sources of “inside information” to the state of our hearts, we guide our lives by Jesus (and not a momentary feeling) who loves us unconditionally.  Thus, when we act in a loving way – love actually grows in our hearts!

“This I command you: love one another.”

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Christ and the Rich Young Ruler, Heinrich Hofmann; 1 June 1889, 480 x 599 pixels, Riverside Church, New York, NY.


6th Sunday of Easter: Growing stronger in God’s love. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – 6th Sunday of Easter

With proper diet and exercise our bodies grow stronger.  Over time what seemed difficult becomes easy through discipline and hard work.  The same is true for our spiritual lives: we grow stronger as we draw near to Christ and grow in his love…thus allowing us to love in difficult and challenging times as we carry out the Lord’s command to love as he loves us.

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Daily Mass: The commandment to love. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Friday of the 5th Week of Easter

Jesus teaches us by his example how to love, and then he commands us to do it – even when it’s hard, inconvenient and uncomfortable.  May we call upon his grace for the strength we need to love one another as he loves us!

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6th Sunday of Easter: The Command to Love

Study:  Recall the people in life have loved us unconditionally.  How did their love help you change and grow?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to recognize the people in our midst we are called to love.

Serve:  Love takes many forms.  What can I do today for another person out of love?

6th Sunday of Easter Readings

For the last few months the eyes of the world have directed to the words and actions of Pope Francis.  It has been a time of extensive media coverage on the Church and its message of hope to a new generation.

During this time many people have experienced the rich treasure of Roman Catholicism.  The history, symbolism, and global significance have helped provide a deeper understanding of the internal structure of the Church.

Many people have responded to the Pope’s teaching and example.  It is an exciting time to participate in the Church, and I personally am renewed and energized in my desire to grow in my  vocation to the priesthood – even in the midst of transition and change.

Change is a part of life.  Through our experiences and encounters we develop and discover new perspectives and resources within our lives.  Change happens when we open our hearts to those around us and put into action our new insights.

In the Gospel Jesus states that to love him means to keep his commandments.  There are two:
1.  Love God
2.  Love one another.

It is important to note that these commands are not just about being busy.  To love means to be in relationship with others; love invites us to grow in our awareness and understanding for one another.  This knowledge leads to greater respect and value for all life.

In the Gospel love is a verb.  It must be acted upon, practiced, and carried out in all parts of life.  To love means to work at a relationship – and thus be open to spend the time and effort necessary.

Yet when we open our hearts to love we are changed.  As we experience love, as we work at it, we discover that our hearts get stretched.  We become challenged to grow, to make room so that we can love more deeply, more completely.

Jesus promises that we will have help.  As we open our lives to the power of love, the Spirit will come to help us and guide us.  Transformed by love, we trust that God will continue to direct us, until the cycle of love and change brings us one day to the Kingdom of Heaven.

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This post was first published on May 20, 2014.


Daily Mass: Jesus fulfills the Law. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Jesus comes to fulfill the Law, teaching as the new Moses and inviting us to draw close to God in a new and powerful way.

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Daily Mass: The command, example and freedom of forgiveness. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

We forgive:

  1. Because the Lord commands us
  2. To imitate the Lord’s example
  3. To be freed from the bondage of sin

And so…to whom do we have to say “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” today?

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The Body and Blood of Christ

Bread

Study:  Read John 6; Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20.  Note that Jesus defines what this is and commands us what to do.

Pray:  The next time you receive Holy Communion, take an extra moment to recognize Christ in the Eucharist and welcome Him into your life.

Serve:  We need food for physical strength and we require spiritual food for spiritual strength.  What tasks are before you right now that require God’s grace and help?

We all know people who love to cook and serve food.  They are the ones who always have something on hand for company, and they delight in offering a “little something” when visitors stop by.  Often in conversation sooner or later the question will be asked, “Are you hungry?  Would you like something to eat?”

Feeding people covers a variety of human needs.  Whether it is for our  hospitality, or gathering for a celebration, or simply nourishing our bodies, food is a central part of our existence.  It is one of our most basic and regular needs.

To ask someone, “Are you hungry?” not only recognizes this fundamental need, but it reveals our desire to serve another out of love.  Hunger is a universal experience, and our willingness to feed others shows our practical concern and our solidarity with those around us.

Experience teaches us that food is not the only nourishment we require.  Besides sustenance for our bodies we are also aware that we need spiritual strength as well.  Friendship, fellowship, prayers, and the support of a community and family are essential to our health and well being.

Jesus knew that people were hungry.  The Lord fed thousands with bread and fish.  He fed multitudes with hope and comfort through his teaching.  He fed the hearts of people in need of forgiveness and peace by his healing.  And on the night he was betrayed, he left his disciples with a way that they could be nourished through his body and blood for all time.

God knows our hunger.  In our need God comes to us with an abundance of life and goodness, inviting us to come and feast that we might have life.  In the Eucharist we proclaim that out of love the Lord Jesus is among us so that the community might receive the nourishment needed for our journey through life.

At Mass we proclaim this mystery.  Through the power of Christ, bread and wine become the Lord’s body and blood for our spiritual food.  As we receive communion the words “the body of Christ” state not only what we receive but what we become.  For as we receive the Lord in holy communion, we become the Body of Christ – empowered to share the Lord’s love in our world that others who hunger might be fed.