by Cardinal Orlando Beltran Quevedo, O.M.I, Archbishop-Emeritus of Cotabato
Liturgy of the Word:
Ps. 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Jn. 13:31-33, 34-35.
1. 1st Reading, Acts 14: 21-27 -- Background of our Reading: It is the beginning of the 2nd missionary journey of Paul. This took place in the region of Galatia. Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium and proclaimed the Gospel there with great success, accompanied by signs and wonders. They also preached in Lystra and cured a man who had never walked. But a hostile crowd stoned Paul. So Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe (vv. 1- 20).
2. They preached successfully at Derbe and returrned to Lystra and Iconium in Antioch (v. 21). They encouraged the disciples to persevere in the faith. "It is necessary for us to undergo hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (v. 22). They appointed presbyters (community religious leaders) and commended them to the Lord (v. 23).
3. Then they travelled through Pisidia, Pamphylia, and preached in Perga. They proceeded to Attalia and called the church community together (vv. 24-25). They reported the wonders that God had done and how he had brought the Gentiles to the faith (vv. 26).
4. The missionary zeal of Paul and Barnabas brought many Gentiles to the faith. But the key to their success in proclaiming the word of Christ is their faithful following of Jesus, their discipleship. We are also called to be faithful disciples and to proclaim Jesus through our faithful Christian lives.
5. Responsorial Ps. 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13 -- The Lord's Goodness. "The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy" (v. . " All your works give you thanks, Lord, and your faithful bless you (v. 10). They speak of your glorious reign and tell of your mighty works. Your dominion is for all generations. You are trustworthy and loving in all your works (v. 12).
6. Rev. 21:1-5 -- The New Heaven and the New Earth. John's vision of God's eternal kingdom in heaven -- "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the earth had passed away, and the sea was no more" (v. 1). The sea was the home of the dragon, that sought to destroy the Lamb. "I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (v. 2). The bride is the symbol of the church ( see Gal. 4:26; Rev, 19:7), the new Jerusalem.
7. "Then I heard a loud voice saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (v. 3; see Ez. 37:27; Is. 25:8). He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be more death or mourning, wailing, or pain, for the old order has passed away (vv. 4-5).
8. Jn. 13:31-33, 34-35 -- The New Commandment of Love. When Judas Iscariot had left the Last Supper, he told his disciples that his hour of glorification has come. He would stay only a little while. So he said to his disciples, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so also should you love one another (v. 34). This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (v. 35).
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." | Sar Shalom
9. Loving one another, as Jesus has loved us has a symbolic and prophetic value. It is both a sign of discipleship and a proclamation of the Lord to others.
10. Prayer -- Almighty God, you are gracious and abounding in mercy. In your compassion, grant us, we pray, the grace to love one another, especially the poor and the needy. Divided in our national elections, unite us in love for one another, that we may be true disciples of Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayers, stay safe, God bless!