Sixth Sunday of Easter, Second Reading: first letter of Saint Peter 1 Peter 3:15-18
Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have.
But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring.
And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
Why, Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.
Jesus said: ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.’
Sixth Sunday of Easter, Gospel Reading: holy Gospel according to John 14:15-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees nor knows him;
but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see me,
because I live and you will live.
On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.
Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’
It was the Sixth Sunday of Easter on 25 May 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown in the previous page & above:
First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 8: 5-8, 14-17,
Responsorial: Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20,
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:15-18 &
Gospel Reading: John 14:15-21.
We have extracted the Homilies of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 9 May 1999
Christ is risen!
1. “Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and always and forever and ever”!
With the words of the final hymn of the Divine Liturgy, I would like to offer fervent thanks to the Lord for this time of joyful brotherhood and intense prayer that we have just experienced.
Blessed be the name of the Lord for the Romanian people. From the very beginning of their evangelization, they have never ceased to sing the praises of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Even in the darkest moments of their history they continued to trust in God as the Psalmist said: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love; and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 41 :8).
I am thinking of the wealth of spirituality and holiness which have enriched Romania’s age-old history. I recall with reverence the witness borne during the persecution of so many Christians, both famous and unknown, who remained steadfast in the faith and continued to spread the Gospel, sometimes at the price of their own lives. Their fidelity is a sign of hope for all the Lord’s disciples. Indeed, communion among Christians of different denominations, real although imperfect, is confirmed by martyrdom for Christ and perfected in the Communion of Saints.
2. Among the many witnesses of Christ that flourished in Romania, I would like to recall the monk of Rohia, Nicolae Steinhardt, an exceptional example of a believer and man of culture, who had a special insight into the immense richness of the treasure common to the Christian Churches.
In particular, I thank the Lord for the witness of faith and hope given in Romania by the members of the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church during our difficult century. Thanks to them, persecution and suffering became precious opportunities for sanctification and evangelization in this region.
May a single hymn of praise to the name of the Lord rise from the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Catholic Church! May it form a symphony of voices to express the heartfelt brotherhood of mutual relations and to implore the full communion of all believers. The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, founded on the apostolic succession, have the same Word of the Lord preserved in Holy Scripture and the same sacraments. In particular, they have kept the same priesthood and celebrate the one Sacrifice of Christ, through which he builds up and gives growth to his Church.
3. Blessed be the name of the Lord for what is being achieved in obedience to Christ’s command. I am thinking here of the international dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole, and between the Greek-Catholic Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church. I am also thinking of the respectful pastoral cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholic faithful which is growing at various levels and is also bearing promising fruit among young people, as well as of the efforts to produce an interdenominational translation of the Bible. May their mutual relations always be free of any kind of fear or suspicion and show that the purpose of all pastoral work is to help each person grow in fidelity to the one Lord.
In a few months we will celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. This will be an extraordinary and important Jubilee for Christians and for the whole human race, in which Christianity has had such great significance during these two millenniums. Therefore the members of the Catholic Church, together with Christians of other denominations, will rightly celebrate the event with heartfelt gratitude to God for the gift of Redemption.
The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 urges Christians to look at the future with a better awareness of the challenges they will face in the new millennium. One that stands out is the search for unity among all believers in Christ. I hope that the third Christian millennium will find us, if not completely united, at least closer to full communion.
4. Blessed be the name of the Lord for your kindness and courtesy in welcoming me these past few days.
I would like to express my warm and cordial gratitude first of all to His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist, to the Holy Synod, the clergy and the faithful of the Orthodox Church of Romania who have opened their arms and their hearts to me!
May the Lord bless this ancient and illustrious Church as she fulfils her pastoral mission, and may he lead all believers to offer the world a renewed and joyful witness of full communion with one another and of courageous fidelity to the Gospel!
I extend an affectionate and fatherly greeting to the faithful of the Catholic Church. God has given me the joy of seeing your faces and praying with you. Like Paul to the elders of Miletus, I say to you: “I commend you to God and to the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32).
I invoke the protection of Mary, the glorious Mother of God, upon all the citizens of beloved Romania. May her children, who in the course of history have learned to trust in her powerful intercession, always be able to find in her a sure guide in advancing towards a future of prosperity and peace and in helping build a more just and more fraternal homeland.
PASTORAL VISIT TO THE ISLAND OF ISCHIA
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 5 May 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. "In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (I Peter 3:15).
With these words of the Apostle Peter, I would like to greet you, dear brothers and sisters of Ischia. Thank you for your very warm welcome!
I first greet your beloved Pastor, Bishop Filippo Strofaldi, and thank him for his welcome in your name. I also greet cordially the Cardinal of Naples, the Bishops of Campania and the other Bishops present, the priests, the men and women religious and all those who make up the diocesan family.
I greet respectfully the representatives of the Italian Government, as well as the representatives of the Municipality, of the Province of Naples and of the Region of Campania. I also greet the other political and military authorities who have wished to honour our meeting with their presence. I thank everyone who generously helped to prepare for my visit.
Lastly, inhabitants of the island, I embrace you all with a special word for the elderly, the sick, your babies, families and last but not least, those who for various reasons were unable to be with us today.
The first is "listen!". We find it in the moving account of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles where it is told how "the multitudes with one accord listened to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did" (Acts 8:6). Listening to this witness of Jesus, who speaks of him with love and enthusiasm, produces the immediate fruit, joy. St Luke notes: "There was great rejoicing in that city" (Acts 8:8).
Christian community of Ischia, if you too want to experience this joy, listen to the Word of God! Thus you will fulfill your mission, guided by the action of the Holy Spirit. You will spread the Gospel of joy and peace, remaining united with your Bishop and the priests who are his first collaborators.
As happened for the communities of Samaria, spoken of in the first reading, the abundant outpouring of the Consoler will come down on you, he who, as the Vatican Council recalls, "moves the heart and converts it to God, opens the eyes of the mind and "makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth'" (Constitution Dei Verbum, n. 5).
Faith accompanied by good works is contagious and spreads light, for it makes visible and communicates God's love. Strive to make this lifestyle your own, listening to the Apostle Peter's words just proclaimed in the second reading (cf. I Peter 3:15). He urges believers always to answer with great readiness "to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you", and adds "it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil" (I Peter 3:17).
4. What human wisdom and what spiritual riches in these simple but fundamental ascetical and pastoral counsels. They lead to the third word that I would like to entrust to you: "love!".
Listening and welcoming open the heart to love. The Gospel passage from John which has just been read out will help us better to understand this mysterious reality. It shows us how love is the complete fulfilment of the person's vocation, according to the plan of God. This love is the great gift of Jesus that makes us truly and fully human. "He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him" (John 14:21).
When we feel loved, we ourselves are more disposed to love. When we experience God's love, we are readier to follow the One who loved his disciples "to the end" (John 13:1), that is, to the point of the total gift of himself.
It is this love that humanity needs, today perhaps more than ever, because love alone is credible. It is the unshakeable faith in this love that in every age inspires thoughts of peace and opens broad horizons of forgiveness and harmony. Of course, it is impossible according to the logic of this world, but everything is possible to those who let themselves be transformed by the grace of Christ's Spirit, poured into our hearts with Baptism (cf. Romans 5:5).
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1 June 2014