Readings and Gospel 9.5.21

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 56

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him
and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.
Peter, however, raised him up, saying,
“Get up. I myself am also a human being.”

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”

While Peter was still speaking these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Then Peter responded,
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people,
who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”
He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm

R. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R. Alleluia.

Reading II

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
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 joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”



From Catholic Daily

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13

Love is very often understood as a strong feeling or emotion toward another.  When someone is strongly attracted to someone or something, they “love it.”  But is this love?  Is this love in the truest sense?  Not really.  Love certainly will have an emotional element to it, but it will not be based on emotions or feelings.

So what is love?  Love is a choice.  Specifically, as Jesus identifies in the Gospel passage above, love is a choice to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Laying down our lives indicates a number of things.  First, it shows that the nature of love is a total self gift.  Laying down your life cannot be done half way.  Either your life is laid down or not.  This reveals that love, in order for it to be love in the truest sense, is a total commitment of 100% of your life.

This passage also reveals that love is sacrificial.  Laying down your life clearly shows that love requires a sort of death to self.  It requires we look to the other first, putting their needs before ours.  This requires true sacrifice and selflessness.

We lay down our lives for others in many ways.  Some small, some big.  Most importantly, we must foster an attitude of deep concern for the good of every person.  When we do turn our eyes and hearts toward others, we will begin to discover countless ways to lay our lives down for them.  Small acts of kindness, words of affirmation, a listening ear, help with a chore, etc. are a few of the small ways we give of ourselves every day.  Greater acts may include a heroic forgiveness, love when we do not feel like being loving, giving mercy when it appears undeserved, and going out of our way to be there for a person when we do not have time in our busy schedule.

The bottom line is that giving of ourselves until it hurts turns any small or large sacrifice we give into a blessing for them and a glorious reward for us.  Living a sacrificial life is fulfilling on many levels and is ultimately what we are made for.

Reflect, today, upon how well you lay down your life for others, holding nothing back.  Do not hesitate to commit yourself to this depth of love.  By giving yourself completely away, you find yourself and discover the presence of our divine Lord.

Lord, help me to put others first.  Help me to love until it hurts.  And in that loving sacrifice, help me to discover the love in Your own divine heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.