Newsletter — Sixth Sunday of Easter B—-5th May 2024

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Reading I: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48Psalm: Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
Reading II: 1 John 4:7-10Gospel: John 15:9-17

Overall Theme: The theme of the readings defines “love” by explaining Trinitarian love and how the whole Church is meant to enter that Divine Love.

Summary of the Readings:

First reading: The Gentile Pentecost account in Acts depicts Peter, guided by divine inspiration, baptizing an uncircumcised family of a Roman centurion. This event holds profound significance as these individuals retain their Gentile identity while receiving the Holy Spirit. Although some interpret the Spirit’s descent before baptism as a justification for not needing baptism, Peter still insists on their baptism. Catholic theology accommodates the concept of perfect desire, wherein God may grant the substance or graces of the sacrament without the external form. The normative form is that God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He is not bound by His sacraments.

Psalm: The Psalm linked to the Babylonian exile illustrates the Israelites’ duty to bear witness to the faith among the Gentiles. They are meant to be coheirs of salvation with the people of God, as they will share in the royal priesthood of the nations in the New Covenant. In Acts, the Jewish Apostles fulfill their task of instructing the Gentiles in the faith.

Second reading: God is love, He is hesed, which is covenantal love. The divine concept of love involves telling the truth, obeying commandments, and self-sacrifice. Jesus provides expiation for our sins through His passion, the definitive day of atonement. The Cross is the ultimate symbol of what love is.

Gospel: The Gospel contains the bulk of Jesus’ teachings on the Holy Spirit. While not explicitly mentioning His name, Jesus prepares us for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, by teaching the spirit of love. The Holy Spirit enables us to abide in His love by aiding us in keeping His commandments. We are urged to love others as He loves us, sacrificially and selflessly, implying that genuine love prioritizes the well-being of others over oneself. Finally, it’s a profound reality that we are called friends of God despite our inequality with God; this is made possible solely through the Holy Spirit, who transforms our nature to reflect God’s likeness.

Practical Application: Loving God is not a result of our effort but of His love that enables us to return His affections. Daily acts of self-sacrifice require divine grace, therefore, we ought to frequent the sacraments that empower us to love through Christ’s love.

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