5 May 2024

Lectionary Readings: Acts 10, 25 -26, 34-35, 44-48; Ps 98, 1.2-3.3-4; 1Jn 4:7-10; Jn 15:9-17

Theme: God’s covenant of love

The Gospel of John is a highlight of the Sunday Easter readings and unveils some beautiful attributes and images of God, describing Jesus’s relationship with His Father. It also outlines practical tips for exhibiting in daily life what we learn from and about God. This week’s portion of the lessons from John is no different. It quotes Jesus speaking about the deepest and most significant expression of the unity and love of God: to give your own life for one another (Jn 15:13). While we hear these words very differently before and after Jesus’s resurrection, the truth remains the same: Jesus wants from us what is summed up in three words: Love one another (Jn 15:17).

This is more than a commandment. It is a way of living, a covenant: “Thinking in terms of covenant does not presuppose an actual, historical agreement any more than social contract presupposes an actual, historical contract. It is simply a way of thinking, a habit of heart and mind that shapes our understanding of social realities” (Sacks, J, p.149).

This point is explored deeper in the letter of Saint John, when he reminds us that we are not honest to ourselves if we talk about the love of God and yet are disconnected from our sisters and brothers by not showing them the love they deserve.

“The saving power of God revealed to the nations” which is being sung in the responsorial Psalm (Ps 97) reminds us that if we live by the Covenant of Love, the world will be changed. However, the change will come only from within, from the depths of our hearts. The power of God is in God’s loving heart, because: “God is personal, there is something at the heart of reality that responds to and affirms our existence as persons. We are here because someone wanted us to be. God did not create the universe as a scientist in a laboratory, or as a technocrat setting in motion the big bang but rather as a parent giving birth to a child” (Sacks, J, p.180).

The covenant of love, a personal relationship with God and other people, which starts from Christians at the time of our Baptism described in the Acts of Apostles in the first reading, is a program for life. It starts in our hearts and creates a ripple effect of love shown through kindness, forgiveness, patience, gratefulness, and much more. It is you and I who can radiate and spread them to others, bringing them closer to God. The brightness of God’s love will show how strong our own covenant with God is.

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What is your definition of the covenant with God? 2. In what ways would you keep the covenant with God and your neighbours this week?

Bibliography: Sacks,J .The Home We Build Together (London: 2007); Sacks,J. The Dignity of Difference (London: 2003)This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Sr Grace Roclawska, csfn
, Australia, Bat Kol Alumna/Alumnus: 2018


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