Liturgy of the Sunday

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Fifth Sunday of Easter


First Reading

Acts 14,21-27

Having preached the good news in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith, saying, 'We must all experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.' In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the gentiles.

Psalmody

Psalm 144

Antiphon

Let us praise your name, O Lord, for ever and ever.

I will give you glory, O God my King,
I will bless your name for ever.

I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.

the Lord is great, highly to be praised,
His greatness cannot be measured.

Age to age shall proclaim your works,
shall declare your mighty deeds,

shall speak to your splendour and glory,
tell the tale of your wonderful works.

They will speak of your terrible deeds,
recount your greatness and might.

They will recall your abundant goodness;
age to age shall ring out your justice.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.

They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God,

to make known to men your mighty deeds
and the glorious splendour of your reign.

Yours is an everlasting kingdom;
your rule lasts from age to age.

The Lord is faithful in all in words
and loving in all his deeds.

The Lord supports all who fall
and raises all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all creatures look to you
and you give them their food in due time.

You open wide your hand
grant the desires of all who live.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.

He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

He grants the desires of those who fear him,
he hears their cry and he saves them.

The Lord protects all who love him;
but the wicked he will utterly destroy.

Let me speak the praise of the Lord,
let all mankind bless his holy name
for ever, for ages unending.

Second Reading

Revelation 21,1-5

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, 'Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone.' Then the One sitting on the throne spoke. 'Look, I am making the whole of creation new. Write this, "What I am saying is trustworthy and will come true."

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 13,31-35

When he had gone, Jesus said: Now has the Son of man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified. If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon. Little children, I shall be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come. I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognise you as my disciples.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The Gospel brings us back into the upper room and has us list again to the first words of the long sermon Jesus spoke to the disciples during the last supper. Judah has just gone out, the evangelist notes, and Jesus begins speaking. What Jesus is about to say is radically opposed to the "Satan" who had established himself in Judah's heart. It is one of the most difficult moments of Jesus' life. He feels that his death is close. And his greatest worry is not for himself, but for the future of the Gospel and the future of that little group. He tells them, "Little children, I am with you only a little longer," and, as if to summarize the entire Gospel in a few words, he adds, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." The term "new" means last, definitive, valid forever. The entire Gospel is summarized in loving each other with Jesus' own love.
Jesus then adds that it is only by loving like this that they will be recognized as his disciples: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Only by welcoming and living with this love will the disciples be recognized as belonging to Jesus. And love is given to us in the holy liturgy. We too, like the disciples at the last supper, receive his word and the bread of the Eucharist. The holy liturgy transforms us into the Body of Christ and gives us his own love. Despite our smallness, we can say of the community gathered around the altar, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them." The love of Jesus transfigures us, making us a holy people capable of transforming the world, consoling those who are in sadness, healing those who are sick, sustaining the poor, giving hope to those who have lost it, welcoming those who are refused, and giving peace to those who are in conflict. An ancient Christian thinker, Tertullian, said, "It was the practice of love, more than anything else, that branded Christians in the eyes of pagans, "See how they love each other' they say, (while pagans hate each other), and see how they are ready to die for one another' (while they prefer to kill each other)." The new commandment is the commandment for today. The world and the poor, most of all, need this "new" commandment, the commandment of the time of fraternity and peace.