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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012 - Jn 17:11b-19

Liturgical day: Wednesday 7th of Easter

Gospel text (Jn 17:11b-19): 

Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed, "I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world whereas I am going to you. Holy Father, keep them in your Name that you have given me, so that they may be one, just as we are. When I was with them, I kept them safe in your Name, and not one was lost except the one who was already lost, and in this the Scripture was fulfilled."

"But now I am coming to you and I leave these my words in the world that my joy may be complete in them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world; just as I am not of the world. I do not ask you to remove them from the world but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world; consecrate them in the truth —your word is truth. I have sent them into the world as you sent me into the world, and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth".

"That my joy may be complete in them"

Today, we live in a world which does not know how to be truly happy with the happiness of Jesus, a world which seeks the happiness of Jesus in all the wrong places and in the wrong ways. Seeking happiness without Jesus only leads to deeper unhappiness. Just look at the soaps on TV, there is always somebody in trouble. The soaps on TV show us the misery of a godless life.

But we want to live this day with the joy of Jesus. Jesus prayed to his Father in our Gospel today, "I leave these my words in the world that my joy may be complete in them" (Jn 17,13). Notice that Jesus wants his joy to be complete in us. He wants us to be full of his joy. This does not mean that we will not have crosses, for "the world has hated them because they are not of the world" (Jn 17,14), but Jesus expects us to live with his joy no matter what the world thinks of us. The joy of Jesus is to permeate us to our very core while the superficial rumblings of a godless world should not penetrate us.

Today then let us live with the joy of Jesus. How can we acquire more and more of this joy of Jesus? Obviously from Jesus himself. Jesus is the only one who gives us the true joy that the world is lacking as we see in the soaps on TV. Jesus said, "If you remain in me and my words in you, you may ask whatever you want and it will be given to you" (Jn 15,7). Then let us spend time each day in prayer with the words of Jesus in the Scriptures, let us eat and consume the words of Jesus in the Scriptures, let them be our food, so that we may be satiated with the joy of Jesus: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon" (Benedict XVI).

Comment: Fr. Thomas LANE (Emmitsburg, Maryland, United States)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012 - Jn 16:5-11

Liturgical day: Tuesday 6th of Easter

Gospel text (Jn 16:5-11): 

Jesus said to his disciples, "But now I am going to the One who sent me and none of you asks me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief because of what I have said. Indeed believe me: It is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send him to you, and when He comes, He will vindicate the truth in face of the world with regard to sin, to the way of righteousness, and to the Judgment. What has been the sin? They did not believe in me. What is the way of righteousness? I am on the way to the Father, meanwhile you will not see me. What Judgment? The Ruler of this world has himself been condemned".

"It is better for you that I go away"

Today, we are presented with a deeper understanding of the reality of the Ascension of the Lord. In the reading from the Gospel of John on Easter Sunday, Mary of Magdala is told not to cling to the Lord because "I have not yet ascended to my Father" (Jn 20:17). In today's Gospel Jesus notes that the disciples "are overcome with grief because of what I have said", but that "it is better for you that I go away" (Jn 16:6-7). Jesus must ascend to the Father. Yet, He still remains with us.

How can he go, yet still remain? This mystery was explained by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI: "Given that God embraces and sustains the whole cosmos, the Lord's Ascension means that Christ has not gone far away from us, but now, thanks to the fact that He is with the Father, He is close to each one of us forever".

Our hope is in Jesus Christ. His conquest of death gave us the life that death can never destroy, His Life. His resurrection is a verification that the spiritual is real. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can diminish our hope. The negatives of the world cannot destroy the positive of Jesus Christ.

The imperfect world we live in, a world where the innocent suffer, can point us to pessimism. But Jesus Christ has transformed us into eternal optimists.

The living presence of the Lord in our community, in our families, in those aspects of our society that can rightfully be called “Christian” have given us a reason for hope. The Living Presence of the Lord within each one of us has given us joy. No matter how great the barrage of negatives that the media delights in presenting, the positives of the world far outweigh the negatives, for Jesus Christ has risen.

He ascended, but He has not left us.

Comment: Fr. Joseph A. PELLEGRINO (Tarpon Springs, Florida, United States)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012 - Jn 15:9-11

Liturgical day: Thursday 5th of Easter

Gospel text (Jn 15:9-11): 

Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete".

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you"

Today, we hear again the intimate confidence Jesus made last Holy Thursday: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you" (Jn 15:9). The Father's love for the Son is immense, tender, dear. We can read it in the Book of Proverbs, when He affirms that long before initiating his deeds "Then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while" (Pr 8:30). This is how He loves us and, prophetically announcing it in the same book, He adds: "Playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the sons of men" (Pr 8:31).

The Father loves the Son, and Jesus tells us so: "And He that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (Jn 8:29). The Father loudly proclaimed it in the Jordan, when He says: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Mk 1:11) and, later on, in Mount Tabor: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him" (Mk 9:7).

Jesus has replied, "Abbà", Pater! Now He reveals us, "As the Father has loved me, so I love you". And what shall we do? To stay indeed by his love, to abide by his commandments, to love His Father's Will. Is not this the example He gives us? "I always keep my Father's commandments and remain in his love".

But we, who are weak, fickle, cowards and —why not just admit it— even wicked at times, shall we then lose his friendship forever? No, He will not allow us to be tempted well over our own forces! And, if we ever fail to abide by his commandments, let us ask him the grace of quickly coming back to him, as the prodigal son to the Father's house. And of being able to receive the Sacrament of Penance and be forgiven our sins. "I love you —Jesus tells us—. I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete" (Jn 15:9-11).

Comment: Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés (Tarragona, Spain)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Huffington Post article: What Is Love?

What Is Love? Sheryl Paul | May 05, 2012 12:38 PM EDT

Comments (402)

We live under a massive cultural delusion about the nature of real love. Propagated by mainstream media, from the time you're born you're inundated with the belief that love is a feeling and that when you find "the one" you'll sense it in your gut and be overcome by an undeniable sense of knowing. When the feeling and corresponding knowing fade (for the knowing is intimately linked to the feeling) and the work of learning about real love begins, most people take the diminished feeling as a sign that they're in the wrong relationship and walk away. And then they start over again, only to find that the now-familiar knowing and feeling fade again... and again... and again.

If love isn't a feeling, what is it?

Love is action. Love is tolerance. Love is learning your partner's love language and then expressing love in a way that he can receive. Love is giving. Love is receiving. Love is plodding through the slow eddies of a relationship without jumping ship into another's churning rapids. Love is recognizing that it's not your partner's job to make you feel alive, fulfilled, or complete; that's your job. And it's only when you learn to become the source of your own aliveness and are living your life connected to the spark of genius that is everyone's birthright can you fully love another.

Although it's nearly impossible to capture this elusive word into a single definition, M. Scott Peck says it poignantly in The Road Less Traveled:

Love is as love does. Love is an act of will --namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.

By stating that it is when a couple falls out of love that they may begin to really love I am also implying that real love does not have its roots in a feeling of love. To the contrary, real love often occurs in a context in which the feeling of love is lacking, when we act lovingly despite the fact that we don't feel loving.

And as my favorite fiction writer on real love, Kate Kerrigan (author of a must-read for every engaged and newlywed couple, "Recipes for a Perfect Marriage"), writes in her fabulous essay, Marriage Myths:

You don't have to encourage it, or welcome it, but you better learn to suck it up from time to time. We have mythologized love to such an extent that people are no longer prepared for the realities of long-term relationships. We are taught that it is good not to compromise, not to put up with anything we don't like, not to sacrifice our own beliefs for anyone or anything. Yet compromise and sacrifice are the cornerstones of marital love.

No matter what way you dress it up, the best thing you can bring to a marriage is not the feeling of 'being in love', but romance's poor relation: tolerance. Add to that enough maturity to be able to fulfil your own needs and you have some hope. Optimism and chemistry, which seem to be the bedrock of the modern marriage, just don't cut it, folks. And while I am pontificating, one more tip for the ladies: Try to find a man who has that most underrated of qualities: character. I did and so far my Oscar hasn't bothered him. Although I am still waiting for my cooked breakfast...

Sound pessimistic? It's reality, not a welcome word in a culture addicted to fantasy. But here's the good news: when the initial infatuation feeling fades and you do the real work of learning how to love and be loved, something infinitely richer and sustaining than flimsy infatuation flowers in the garden of your marriage. Over time, these plants grow roots that are sturdy and strong. They are nourished by soil that is well-worked as you've sat beside each other and yanked out the weeds of intolerance, impatience, frustration, and fear. It's work that can and must be cultivated over a lifetime, and yet we expect to enter marriage with a perfect, rose-filled garden. Again, this is the fantasy that our culture propagates and throws many young people into despair when their fledging relationship fails to measure up to these unrealistic and damaging expectations.

If you're in a fulfilling, long-term marriage, you know what I mean and I'm preaching to the choir. But for the women and men who I work with every day in counseling,it's a crushing moment when the infatuation drug wears off and they're left to begin the real work of loving. And it's even more devastating when this happens during their engagement, a time our culture hammers into their head as the happiest in their life. It's time to send a different message to young people about the difference between infatuation and love. If we're going to restore marriage to a place of honor and respect, we must teach that the role of one's partner is not to save you from yourself and make you feel alive,fulfilled, and complete; only you can do that. It's time to teach a different message. Let's begin the conversation here.

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books,her Home Study Programs and her websites. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3, 2012 - Jn 14:6-14

Liturgical day: May 3rd: Philip and James, apostles

Gospel text (Jn 14:6-14):

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you know me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know him and you have seen him". Philip asked him, "Lord, show us the Father and that is enough". Jesus said to him, "What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever sees me sees the Father; how can you say: ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?. All that I say to you, I do not say of myself. The Father who dwells in me is doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. Everything you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. And everything you ask in calling upon my Name, I will do".

"I am the way, the truth and the life. If you know me, you will know the Father also"

Today, we celebrate the feast of Philip and James, Apostles. The Gospel refers to those chats Jesus used to have with the Apostles only, with the purpose of giving them a clear idea about himself and his Mission on Earth. For the Apostles were very much imbued with the ideas Jews maintained about the Messiah: they expected a terrestrial and political liberator, whereas Jesus' person did not meet at all with any of those preconceived images.

The first words we read in today's Gospel are in reply to a question by the apostle Thomas. "I am the way, the truth and the life. If you know me, you will know the Father also" (Jn 14:6). This reply to Thomas gives way to Philip request: "Lord, show us the Father and that is enough" (Jn 14:8). Jesus' answer is —in actual fact— a reprimand: "What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip?" (Jn 14:9).

The Apostles could not quite understand the unity between the Father and Jesus; they did not quite realize Jesus is God and Man in one person. But He does not limit himself to prove his equality with the Father, He also reminds them they are to keep on carrying out his Saving Work: He confers upon them the power to do miracles, He promises them they will forever be with him, and that everything they ask in his name, He will do.

But Jesus' answers to the Apostles are also intended for all of us. Saint Josemaria says, when commenting this text: "‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. With these unmistakable words the Lord has shown us, which is the path that leads to eternal happiness (...). He points it out for all men, but especially He emphasizes it for those who, as you and I, have told him we are decided to take up seriously our Christian vocation"

Comment: Fr. Joan SOLÀ i Triadú (Girona, Spain)