May 9, 2021
God is no respecter of persons.
Whoever does not love has not known God, because God is love.
“This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 10, 25-26. 34-35. 44-48
When Pedro was about to enter, Cornelio met him and, prostrating himself, wanted to pay homage to him. But Peter picked him up, saying:
“Get up, I’m a man like you.”
Peter spoke up and said:
“Now I understand with all the truth that God is no respecter of persons, but that he accepts the one who fears him and practices justice, regardless of the nation.”
Peter was still speaking, when the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word, and the faithful of the circumcision who had come with Peter were surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles, because they heard them speak in strange tongues and proclaim the greatness of God.
Then Peter added:
“Can the water of baptism be denied to those who have received the Holy Spirit like us?”
And he had them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then they begged him to stay with them for a few days.
Ps. 97, 1. 2-3ab. 3cd-4.
The Lord reveals his salvation to the nations.
Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonders.
His right hand has given her victory, his holy arm. R.
The Lord makes known his salvation, he reveals his righteousness to the nations.
He remembered his mercy and his faithfulness on behalf of the house of Israel. R.
The ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, whole earth; shout, cheer, knock. R.
Reading of the first letter of Saint John the Apostle 4: 7-10
Dear brothers and sisters, let us love one another, since love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love has not known God, because God is love.
In this the love that God has for us was manifested: in that God sent his Only Begotten into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this love consists: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to us as a victim of propitiation for our sins.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 15: 9-17
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; stay 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 spoken to you about this so that my joy is in you, and your joy reaches its fullness.
This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you.
No one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends.
You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing: I call you friends, because everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
It is not you who have chosen me, it is I who have chosen you and destined you to go and bear fruit, and your fruit remains.
So whatever you ask the Father in my name, give it to you.
This is what I command you: love each other ”.
In today’s Word of God there appears a new protagonist who, perhaps until now, in this Easter season, had passed us unnoticed: the Holy Spirit, who constantly guides the first Christians for the growth of the Church. In this book of the Acts of the Apostles, which Pope Francis calls the bedside book of the missionary disciples, the Holy Spirit is the main agent of the mission. The difficulties that the apostles had in assessing the identity of Christianity in the face of Jewish traditions, suspicions, obstacles, persecutions, even internal contradictions, were gradually overcome from humility and docility to the Holy Spirit.
In the text of today’s first reading we are presented with Peter in Caesarea, a city built and inhabited by Romans, therefore pagans, in the house of Cornelius, the head of the militia, to whom he had been invited to speak about Christ. . While there it happens that, even before receiving the baptism, he lowered the Holy Spirit on all those who listened to Peter. It is the passage that biblical scholars call the “pagan Pentecost.” Certainly, God is no respecter of persons and gives his Spirit to those who open their hearts to him. It is a passage that illuminates in a special way the daily journey of our Church, which must seek the pattern of her evangelizing action in the first steps of the Church of the Apostles. Also today God the Father, through the risen Christ, wants to continue giving his Spirit to those who seek him with a sincere heart, even though they have not yet received baptism and, therefore, formally belong to the Church. We, as already baptized Christians, must be constantly asking God for his Holy Spirit, to guide our steps, both personally and in what refers to the building of the Kingdom and the growth of the Church. That, if God is no respecter of persons and freely gives his Spirit, we too may live without discriminating, judging or restricting the free action of God through his Spirit.
In the second reading we find the central passage of the first letter of Saint John. The letter offers us one of the most impressive reflections on the Christian God: he is the God of love. Love comes from God, is born in him and is communicated to all his children. For this reason, the Christian life must be the praxis of love. If we truly want to know who God is, this text offers us a concrete path: learning to be his children; but how?: loving the brothers.
We find three key words in the Bible that define God and help us understand who he is and what he expects of us: Creator, Father and Love. Each of them is displayed in a multitude of contents. But perhaps the latter is the one that affects us the most, insofar as it defines not only the essence of God but also ours. Every human being, created by God in his image and likeness, is made to love. Love is the essence of God, but also ours. When the Lord asks us to love each other, He simply asks us to be and live what we were created for… to love.
And we have known this through Jesus Christ in whom God has loved us to the extreme, in whom it has been shown to us that God loves us first, before even creating us and, of course, before we know and love Him.
Again, in today’s Gospel, the verb “remain” appears several times. Jesus invites us to remain in his love by keeping his commandments, as he remains in the love of the Father, fulfilling his will. To remain in the love of Christ means to allow ourselves to be invaded and guided by his Spirit, to be faithful to his mandates, to actively belong to his Church, to be willing to fulfill his will in everything, to listen to what he wants from each one of us. of us at every moment. So many times the pounding of life wants to take us in other directions, it sows doubt and anxiety in our hearts, it pushes us to swampy terrain. To remain in Christ, without distancing ourselves from Him, without abandoning Him, without betraying Him, continues to be the daily challenge of every Christian who wants to be a true disciple and missionary of Christ in the concrete place where He has placed us.
In today’s Gospel the Lord continues to tell us beautiful and very important things for our Christian life that, rather than commenting, we must meditate in front of Him, who has loved and chosen us first, who calls us friends, who has given life and he continues to give it for each one of us. He does not ask us for impossibilities or exaggerations, heroics or eccentricities; He asks us for something that is within our reach, something that is not difficult, something for which he has created us; He asks us to love each other as brothers, as He has loved us and continues to love us. In total love we will find the medicine for all our ills.
Very in keeping with this Word of today is the figure of the mother. Mother is synonymous with love; the mother is the one who first loved us as human beings, even before we were born, and whom we have first loved and from whom we have learned to love. Today in Cuba, as in other Latin American countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated. Last Sunday we celebrated it in Spain. Many will remember the deceased mothers with a thought and a prayer. They will also congratulate their moms with a gift, albeit a humble one. There are many ways of being mothers, but they all have a common denominator and expression. The common denominator is that they embody, consciously or unconsciously, the love that God has for each one of us for having created us, for being his children; and, indeed, any true mother expresses in her feelings, gestures, words, smiles, actions, work, sacrifices … the paternal and maternal love that God pours out on her sons and daughters through them.
And if in any case this were not so, the Lord has left us his Mother, his own mother, so that she may be the mother of each and everyone. Mother with a different face and name in each country or region. In Cuba she is our Mother of Charity… which means love. Love with love is paid. May we never forget our mothers. May we always remember that God, who is Love, shows us his love through his Mother, also ours, Mary.
Prayer for Mothers
Father of love, who wanted to make mothers, your collaborators in the beautiful task of the conception and care of the lives of the human beings that you create with so much love every day, hear our prayer.
We ask you, Father, for all the mothers of the world, so that they become aware of the beautiful mission that you entrusted to them, and know how to fulfill it fully, with love and dedication, joy and hope, following the example of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, your Beloved son.
Strengthen them with the gifts of your compassionate and merciful love, so that they can be true teachers and guides on the path of life for their sons and daughters, and overcoming with patience and vigor, their limitations and difficulties, always give them the best of themselves with enthusiasm and generosity.
Fill her hearts with your tenderness, so that they can dry the tears of her children with it. Hold them tight, so that they will be able to lead them with loving authority on the path that leads to You.
In a special way we ask you, for those moms who, due to various circumstances, live moments of difficulty, and feel fearful and without the strength to move forward.
We entrust to your Father’s hands the mothers who are victims of injustice and violence, who, anywhere in the world, flee from their homes, to save their lives and the lives of their children, with the hope of being able to build for themselves a future of peace and prosperity.
To teenage mothers who are surprised by their precocious motherhood.
To the mothers of sick or disabled children who are struggling to bring them up.
To mothers of difficult children.
Those who feel lonely, those who are sick, those who live in poverty,
those who are afraid, those who have been abandoned by their husbands and partners,
to those who are offended by their children, to whom no one recognizes their many sacrifices,
Every day they must face a multitude of problems that we, in the midst of the comfort of our lives, cannot even imagine.
Bless all mothers, Father.
Bless the living and deceased mothers of whom we turn to You.
And bless us all with your Father and Mother love, which protects us from all dangers, guides us along the path of life, cares for us and strengthens us, forgives our sins and heals our miseries. Amen.