My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Our first reading today shows us God’s plan for salvation in a powerful way.
As we heard, St. Peter and his disciples go to the house of Cornelius, who is a Roman soldier. That is the key to story.
Cornelius and his family are not Jewish, they are Gentiles. Up until this point in the history of the early Church, all the Christians were Jewish, as Jesus was.
So, what we are witnessing today in this first reading is historic — the first baptism of a Gentile family.
As we heard, St. Peter was preaching the Word of God and the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his family and they begin speaking in tongues and giving glory to God — just like what happened to the first Christians at Pentecost.
This is God’s plan for the world — to show his love to all of humanity! From the beginning, God wanted to bless all the families of the world through his chosen people, through the children of Abraham.2
St. Peter says in today’s first reading:
In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
So God does not just share his love and mercy only with some people. God is ready to pour out the gift of his Holy Spirit on everyone! No matter who they are. No matter where they come from.
God loves everyone with a Father’s love. And he wants every family to be a part of his family, the Church.
This is why Jesus came into the world — to reveal the love of God. In our second reading today, St. John tells us:
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
My dear brothers and sisters, this is the beautiful truth of our lives. And we need to reflect on this again and again — when we get up in the morning and when we lay down at night. We need to thank God for the beautiful gift of his love.
It’s so easy to take it for granted but this shows us how important we all are to God. Never forget this! You are so important to God and his plan of love for the whole world. We all are!
That’s why I insist we need to think about it over and over again.
And in the Gosple today, Jesus says to each one of us:
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain
He is talking here to his apostles but, as we know, he is also talking to you and to me. Jesus Christ has chosen you, personally, and me, personally. And there is something that he wants us to do with our lives. To bear fruit that will remain.
So I was thinking, do you ever wonder why you — and I was thinking of myself, — why did we receive thr grace of knowing Jesus? And why did someone close to me or that I meet, or that you meet, maybe down the street from you, or at work — why does that other person not know Jesus?
It is not because we are somebody special and that other person is not. It is because that other person is waiting for is — waiting for you and for me — to invite them, to introduce them to Jesus.
God has chosen us personally and is sending us to show his love, especially, to the people aroundus. to everybody, but especially to those people who are close to us. In our families, at work, in our society, in our relationships> He is waiting for us to show them the love of God. His love for each one of them. They are still waiting for someone to invite them, to introduce them to Jesus.
And, my dear brothers and sisters, this is our responsibility. This is the mission of the Church.
Jesus is sending us out, just like he sent out St. Peter and the first apostles. Just as he sends out missionaries and disciples in every age.
We are not here on earth just to make a living or to do our everyday jobs. All those daily duties are important for all of us, for our families, for our society, for the Church — but we are also here to have a mission. Jesus has chosen each one of us to bear fruit for him.
Then Jesus tells us today in the Gospel:
Love one another as I have loved you.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, when we love our neighbors as Jesus calls us to do, our love opens the door — opens the hearts of our neighbors — to welcome the love of God.
So how do we do it? That’s the question, isn’t it?
God loves us, he’s sending us. Love is the way to do it. But practically speaking, how can we do it?
Jesus tells us today, that we should do it by following his way, the pathway of love. Love is the way of the Jesus — and love is the way he wants us to follow.
And when we think of the beautiful example of all of the saints, they teach us that love grows in little ways. In our everyday activities, in the small sacrifices that we make. In all the efforts we make to be less selfish, to do what God wants and not what we want.
So, my brothers and sisters, as we hear in the Word of God today — each one of us is a part of God’s beautiful plan of love.
God wants to share his love, to reveal his love.
So I think this can be something that we can reflect on this week, especially. We are coming to the end of the Easter season. A week from today we celebrate the Ascension and then the following Sunday, Pentecost. So, maybe, as we reflect on everything that we have lived here in these weeks of Easter, let’s try to find those little ways to show love. Little ways to make a difference. To do good. To help people.
So this week let us pray especially for that — that we can reflect on that beautiful plan of God for creation, for the human person, and for each one of us. And how we are called to really bring that love of God — that’s our mission — to the people around us.
It is also the month of Mary. So, we want to remember to do something special for Mary this month. Maybe finding the time to pray the Rosary — at least one mystery of the Rosary — to ask Our Blessed Mother to help us. To really bring that mission — loving God and one another — to reality in our lives.
Let’s ask our Blessed Mother today to intercede for us and to help us to follow her Son on the path of love and to bear good fruits through the love we show for others.
1. Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Ps. 98:1-4; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17.
2. Gen. 12:3.