May 29, 2010
The Truth of God's Love
In this passage from John's gospel, selected for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the one element that the three persons of the Godhead share is truth.
The Father and the Son shares everything. "Everything that the Father has is mine." The Holy Spirit speaks to us nothing else but what Jesus has, which is from the unity of the Father and the Son. "He will take from what is mine and declare it to you."
It is the truth that the Spirit of truth shares with us from that unity. And it is to that truth that the Holy Spirit guides us. "The Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth."
And what is this truth? It is the truth of the Trinity's love. John gives it to us in the key phrase of his Gospel, "God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life." (3:16)
So, we are drawn into this truth of God's love.
May 25, 2010
May 21, 2010
Jn 14:15-16, 23b-26
If You Love Me
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (v. 15)
"Whoever loves me will keep my word." (v. 23)
Jesus told the disciples these two sentences during the Last Supper. He had washed their feet, and told them to learn from his example of humble and loving service. He then told them that one of them, "to whom I hand the morsel" would betray him. He also warned Peter of his denial of Jesus.
This context can help us understand more deeply the meaning of Jesus' invitation of loving him. He has loved us first. He even laid down his life for his friends.
He also gives us, in his own death, the example of loving the Father to the point of death to fulfill the Father's loving plan of salvation for humanity.
In this context, Jesus teaches us the true meaning of love. Often times, God's commandments are seen as restrictions and burden. People have accused Christianity of taking away freedom. Understood correctly, however, God's commandments are the result of God's love for us. The commandments give us true freedom and the dignity of God's children, who are capable of loving.
And we can truly keep the commandments and listen to God's word only if we love God first.
It's not an easy task. Therefore, the Risen Christ gives us a helper. "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
May 15, 2010
"You Loved them Even As You Loved Me"
Today, we proclaim and listen to the very last verses in the Gospel of John before Jesus goes to the garden to begin his passion. These words bring the Last Supper to a close. In that context, we can see the importance of the prayer Jesus offers to the Father here.
This prayer shows us who we are in Jesus' eyes, how he cares for us, and how God the Father loves us.
He prays, "Father, they are your gift to me." That's who we are in Jesus' eyes. We are the gift that the Father gives to the Son. Knowing the perfect love between the Father and the Son, what do these words say to us? We are the Father's precious gift to the Son!
As Jesus is about to be taken from his friends, he assures them, and us, all future generations who "believe in [Jesus] through their words," that we have a powerful friend and intercessor in Jesus. He prays to the Father on our behalf. Again, knowing the perfect love between the Father and the Son, what do these words say to us? The Son prays to the Father for us!
Finally, in this prayer, Jesus reveals the depth of the Father's love for us. "You loved them even as you loved me." Think of that. "Even as!" It's with the same love that the Father loves us and the Son.
And Jesus prays that the Father's love may be realized in us. "I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
There, the mission of Christ! To draw us into a loving relationship with the Father, just as Christ is in that love.
 Kyle Zinno, one of our Salesian seminarians, offered this reflection during our weekly lectio divina.
Christ's Ascension and Our Lives
There seems to be a clear reason why this passage from the Gospel of Luke is read together with the first reading from Acts 1:1-11 (the first reading of this feast). In these two passages, the behaviors of the disciples appear to contradict each other.
In Acts, they look " intently at the sky" as Jesus leaves them. They need to be told to stop looking.
However, in the Gospel passage, they return to Jerusalem, where Jesus previously instructed them to begin their mission. It is from there they will preach in his name.
This mission given to all disciples of Jesus to carry out until he "[returns] in the same way as [the disciples] have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
These two behaviors of the disciples, which may appear contradictory, teach us that as followers of Jesus, we must live with our eyes fixed on heaven and our feet firmly rooted on the ground. Where Jesus has gone, we will follow; yet, it is in our daily life here on earth that we must be witnesses of God's saving action.
May 8, 2010
God Is With Us - the Presence of Peace
At the last supper, Jesus gives his disciples his farewell gift of peace. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." But this is not just some words of encouragement of one who is bidding farewell to his friends.
Jesus assures his friends that his gift of peace is greater than anything the world can offer, "Not as the world gives do I give it to you." 
This gift of peace from Jesus is so marvelous because it comes from the ever presence of God among us. Jesus promises those who love him and keep his word the divine presence of God's love, "My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him."
We experience this divine presence in a special way in the Eucharistic celebration, where Christ is present in the Eucharist, in His word, in the minister, and in all members of the Church, who "are gathered together in his name". 
 Francis J. Moloney, SDB., The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 410.
 The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II teaches, "Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, (...) but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, .... He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20) . (Paragraph 7, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html)
May 1, 2010
John 13: 31-33a, 34-35
The Cross - the Moment of God's Love and God's Glory
From the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry, the Gospel according to John emphasizes "the hour of Jesus." At the wedding of Cana, Jesus tells his Mother, "My hour has not yet come."
Later on, John reemphasizes the purpose and God's plan in Jesus' earthly life when he reports that those who oppose Jesus "tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come." (7:30)
This sense of purpose in Jesus' awareness of his mission is used again to begin the last portion of John's gospel, "Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father." (13:1)And thus, the last supper begins.
And during this meal, Jesus first washes the disciples' feet. In this way, he teaches them to follow his example of service to one another (13: 5-15). Then, he predicts that one of them would betray him.
Afterwards, in the passage chosen for this Sunday, Jesus tells the disciples the purpose of his mission. The hour has now come for Jesus to glorify the Father. It is the hour of the cross.
And here lays the core of Christianity. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John 3:16). "The cross is not just a place of suffering. It is the place where we can see how much God loves us." 
The hour of the cross is not the hour of defeat. It is the hour where God's plan of salvation is accomplished. The hour of the cross is the hour of God's glory through the revelation of God's marvelous love for us.
Jesus has come for this hour. He accomplishes the purpose of his life by his cross. The cross of Jesus shows us the depth of God's love. He died for our sins so we sinners may live again as children of God. And there, in that absurdity of God's love, God's is glorified.
And this mystery of God's love continues in our lives. "I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Often times, the hour of the cross in our lives is the hour of greatest love, and thus, the hour of God's glory -- the hour that God is made known through our love for one another.
 Francis J. Moloney, SDB. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings, Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 104.