Memory of the Church

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Today the Gypsy people, including those of Islamic faith, celebrate St. George, who died a martyr to free the Church.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 15,9-17

I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. 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.

I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.

This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.

No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.

My command to you is to love one another.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Continuing his speech to the disciples during the last supper, Jesus openly confesses the nature of his love: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you." Unlike how we normally think, Jesus does not feel he is diminishing himself by saying that his love for the disciples is the fruit of a larger love. Blinded by our need to appear original and not to depend on anyone else, we are ashamed to admit that our happiness depends on the love of someone else who is greater than us. In short, everything has to be mine and has to begin with me, even love. Jesus, on the contrary, shows that his love for the disciples begins with the Father. From this conviction rises his invitation to the disciples to remain joined to him, like branches, as humble men and women. Indeed when we are alone our feelings wither and our arms weaken until we lose the ability to be concerned for or serve anything other than ourselves. A sign of this humility is the ability to rejoice at the joy of those who are near us, just as the Lord invites us to do with him; it is also the inability to be happy if those who are near us are experiencing need or sadness, if they are poor, hungry, or in pain. Jesus promises full joy to those who remain close to him, not small, passing, individual satisfaction. And we will have joy in full if we observe the commandment of love the Lord gave to the young rich man who asked him the way to eternal life: "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Yes, true joy can only be found in loving as much as Jesus has loved us, that is, freely and without limit.