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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 14.05.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 14.05.2023

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ACTS 8: 5 – 8, 14 – 17

In those days: Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralysed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 66: 1 – 3a, 4 – 5, 6 – 7a, 16 and 20 (R.) 1

R/. Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
Or:
Alleluia.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth;
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome your deeds!” R/.

“Before you all the earth shall bow down,
shall sing to you, sing to your name!”
Come and see the works of God:
awesome his deeds among the children of men. R/.

He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
Let our joy, then, be in him;
he rules forever by his might. R/.

Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
Blest be God, who did not reject my prayer,
nor withhold from me his merciful love. R/.

SECOND READING
“Put to death in the flesh, he was made alive in the Spirit.”
1ST PETER 3: 15 – 18

Beloved: In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.

The Word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA
John 14: 23

Alleluia.
If a man loves me, he will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor.”
JOHN 14: 15 – 21

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Obedience, Truth and Freedom
May 14, 2023

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you.” John 14:15–17

Imagine a spouse or a friend saying to you, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Such a statement might cause you to react with surprise. Ordinarily, we do not see obedience to another as a sign that we love them. However, what if a parent were to say to a child, “If you love me, you will be obedient.” That statement is easier to accept because of the unique role of a parent to their children. In regard to our love of God, obedience to His divine will is the greatest act of love we can offer. This is because God’s will is perfect. It’s exactly what we need in life. It’s what we were made for. And it is the one and only way to achieve the human fulfillment that we seek. Only God can say such a thing to us because only God is God.

Jesus followed up His call to obedience by saying that obedience to Him will result in Jesus and His Father bestowing the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth upon you. The Holy Spirit will remain “with you, and will be in you.” This is such a profound statement from our Lord. In fact, so much of what He says within this sermon, given at the Last Supper, is profound beyond comprehension.

One clear thing this tells us is that obedience to God leads to a discovery of the Truth. And as Jesus says elsewhere, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). Obedience leads to Truth. Truth leads to freedom.

This begs the question: Do you want to be free? Clearly you do. We cannot not want to be free. Meaning, we are obliged to want freedom, just as we are obliged to want happiness. Why? Because the desire for freedom and happiness is written upon our very nature. It is a desire that we cannot escape. It’s how we are wired. However, it is quite possible to become confused about the way we achieve these desires. For many, obedience is not always understood as the pathway to that desired freedom and happiness.

Consider, again, a child. Imagine a parent telling that child not to eat a certain wild berry that grows behind their house because the parent knows the berry is poisonous and will cause the child to become sick. If the child disobeys and eats the berry anyway, he will learn the important lesson that he should have been obedient. Or if the child were to get in a fight with his brother and was angry and crying, the parent may tell him to say he’s sorry and reconcile with his brother. If the child refuses, he will remain angry and crying. But if he obeys, then he and his brother will once again be able to have fun together.

On a grand scale, this is what God does for us. He is the perfect Father Who always knows what is best for us. For that reason, we must not only conform to His will, we must desire it, seek it out and desire to be obedient to the greatest degree. This is the path to Truth. It is the path to freedom. It is the path to the happiness we desire.

Reflect, today, upon your own level of obedience to the will of God and your understanding of the importance of that obedience. Do you realize that God’s will is perfect? Perhaps you do intellectually, but how about practically? When you read through the Scriptures and hear Jesus’ commands of love, do you seek to follow them without hesitation? For example, do you forgive those who seem undeserving? Can you say, with our Lord from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do?” Reflect upon anything this past year that was difficult for you to embrace from God. Ponder it, pray over it and seek to obey whatever He has revealed to you. Doing so will be the first step toward the fulfillment of your deepest desires in life.

PRAYER:
Most glorious Jesus, Your will is perfect in every way. Obedience to Your will leads to the fulfillment of my life and my every desire. Please bestow the Spirit of Truth upon me so that I will always know Your will and embrace it with all my might. Jesus, I trust in You.

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