Liturgy of the Sunday

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Sixth Sunday of Easter
Memorial of the prophet Isaiah.


First Reading

Acts 10,25-26.34-35.44-48

and as Peter reached the house Cornelius went out to meet him, fell at his feet and did him reverence. But Peter helped him up. 'Stand up,' he said, ' after all, I am only a man!' Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really understand', he said, 'that God has no favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were all astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on gentiles too, since they could hear them speaking strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself then said, 'Could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' He then gave orders for them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterwards they begged him to stay on for some days.

Psalmody

Psalm 97

Antiphon

Shout and sing praises to the Lord.

Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation.

The lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our god.

Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy.

Sing Psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the Kind, the Lord.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.

Let the river clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy

at the presence of the Lord : for he comes,
he comes to rule the earth.

He will rule with the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

Second Reading

1 John 4,7-10

My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love. This is the revelation of God's love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins.

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 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

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

In this time of Easter the Liturgy often makes us meditate on Jesus' speech to the disciples at the Last Supper as reported by John. It is the longest of the Gospel speeches. And, in this time, the Church, in order to keep alive in us the power of the mystery of Easter, breaks it and proposes it again. Jesus continues the allegory of the vine and the branches and thus indicates to the disciples the quality of the relationship they must have with him: "I am the vine and you are the branches." And he adds: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."
Of this love Jesus also loves us. And he repeats to us that he does it first, even without our merit. His love is free. John himself reminds us of this in his First Letter: "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10). This is the love in which we are called to dwell to be surrounded by it. In order to make us understand it well, Jesus reduces it to one: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." Love among the disciples is the only commandment. Certainly, it is the love with which the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the disciples. This is fullness: "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." Jesus' love is a love full of joy because it springs from Easter.
It is not a love closed in its own fences. Easter is for the salvation of the world. So is love. From its very origins in the very womb of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). Hence the urgency of communicating this love to the ends of the earth, as Jesus himself says to the disciples: "I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last." Love must bear fruit for the world. It is in its very nature. That is why Jesus had just before said to the disciples: "By how you love one another, all will know that you are my disciples" (see Jn 13:35). The communion of brothers and sisters - the fraternity we are called to live and enjoy - is the force that changes the world.