Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
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.
1 John 4:7-10
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.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
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.”
Once again this week we have the same lessons as last Sunday. We are told to remain in Christ. The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, is again insisting the before God, religious practice does not count unless it is coming from a heart that is truly seeking to obey God. Circumcision was the sign of the covenant with the Jewish people, but unless people are honestly seeking God, circumcision does not count. Perhaps even more important, when someone is seeking God, one does not need to be circumcised. It simply is not important.
The chosen people of God also had many food regulations and regulations about washing hands and other regulations. Those do not count either. We should be able to say from the reading of Scripture: there is only one thing that counts and that is complete trust in Jesus Christ. All salvation is from Him.
For lots of people, there is a sense that our Catholic Church has complicated things because we also have rules and regulations. We have to remember that this salvation in Jesus Christ is not saying that we can do just anything. Rather it is saying that when we put God first, we will know how to deal with all the rule and regulations. Jesus says many times that He has not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them.
We have been invited to be friend of Christ. He has chosen us and we are invited to respond. This is really awesome! This is not about feeling good about ourselves, it is about being faith to our friend, Jesus Christ. This is about learning more and more from Jesus Christ by listening to His word and allowing it to form us. This is about learning to trust totally in Jesus Christ and His word to guide our daily lives.
We hear so strongly in today’s readings: love one another as Christ has loved you. We want to learn how to love and all of life is about learning to love more. There is no point where we can say that we have learned Christ’s teachings entirely and thus have no more to learn. Always we meet new situations and in those situations we hear in a new way the word that we have already heard and which has been forming us. It is important to keep our eyes and our ears open. That is to say that our hearts must be open in every situation so that we can hear and understand how God wants us to love.
Let us ask again today that we may know how to love, that we may allow the word of God to be the guide of every aspect of our lives and that we may give all of our energies to our Lord, who gave His life for us.