5th Week of Easter, Thursday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord reminds us that there is a difference between love and obligation, but that both love and obligation support each other when one or the other comes under fire. Jesus teaches that we remain in his love by keeping his commandments, just as he’s kept his Father’s commandments. If a parent or a spouse commands you to do something, something that may be difficult for you, love is often the reason in the end that you do it. And in a society where family life comes under fire and is not supported as it should be, and marriages face trials daily not just for difficulties between the spouses themselves, sometimes in a moment when you’re thinking of giving up it is remembering the obligation of marriage that your love led you to freely take upon yourself in a brighter moment that keeps you going forward.

Obligation helps us remember that love is not just feeling good. Any parent who gets up at 3:00 AM to change their infants diapers knows that, or a son or daughter who cares for an elderly and ailing parent. Reminding yourself of your obligations is something that you can hold onto in order to regain your footing in a tough moment. We also know that love goes beyond just obligation or it can become pretty miserable. That’s why we must always remind ourselves that we fulfill our obligations out of love. Some of them have their origin in love–marriage, childhood, consecrated life, ordination–but they’re all a response to a love we have received due to no merits of our own. That’s especially true in fulfilling the commandments of God: we obey God as Our Lord, Our Heavenly Father, out of love and gratitude for all the love he has lavished upon us.

Let’s freshen up our love toward God and neighbor today by remembering all the love we’ve received, and fulfilling lovingly our duties and obligations toward God and others.

Readings: Acts 15:7–21; Psalm 96:1–3, 10; John 15:9–11.

5th Week of Easter, Wednesday


Our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that the Christian life, like a cultivated vine, depends on the trunk in order to grow and develop instead of withering on the vine. Part of this involves imitating Christ and following his teachings: he reminds us today of the need to have his word remain in us, but also the need for us to remain in him and he in us, a constant flow of divine life. The cultivated vine in today’s Gospel represents the communion of life with God that we must maintain in love. When we stop loving God and loving others this vital flow is cut off, and if everything at first seems the same, soon enough our life starts to wither.

A sacramental life is what fuels a Christian life. Through the sacraments we establish, maintain, and, when necessary, restore this vital communion with God. We’re more fortunate than plants: sometimes they are beyond a little water in order to perk back up. It’s never too late to return to a sacramental life. It’s true that someone cut off from Christ in this way for an extended period of time has a long road ahead to make amends and overcome the vices that can become very entrenched when practiced for a long time, but the vital flow is restored: through our love we reconnect to God’s love, in faith we know the vital flow of grace is opened again to us, and in hope we know that as long as we keep striving to change and remain in Christ we will succeed with his help.

Let’s take a moment and examine our sacramental life today. Are we going to the Eucharist at least every Sunday and Holy Day Obligation? Are we going to Confession when our conscience tells us something is wrong? It’s never too late to reconnect with God through the sacraments as the best way to help us grow as Christians.

Readings: Acts 15:1–6; Psalm 122:1–5; John 15:4a, 5b; John 15:1–8. For another reflection on today’s Gospel, see 5th Sunday of Easter, Cycle B.

5th Week of Easter, Tuesday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord promises to give us peace, but not as the world gives it. Peace as the world understands it can mean so many things: financial security, quality time with family and friends, good health, a lack of worries, domestic tranquility (either as a family or as a nation), a sense of fulfillment in your career, etc. The difference between these kinds of peace and the peace Jesus offers us is that all these things, even if they might last a long time, won’t last forever. Easter time is a time for thinking of eternal life and eternal peace. The peace we experience in this life is often just a glimpse of the true peace that is to come.

The peace Jesus promises today is not just a future peace: Paul in the First Reading was attacked and left for dead, and if a movie was written about such drama today, it’d probably show Paul in the aftermath as traumatized, disillusioned, bitter, or seeking revenge. The First Reading shows something different: Paul gets up, moves on, and keeps working and encouraging others. That is the peace of soul we as Christians strive for: it continues to fill us even when we are persecuted, sick, poor, or reviled. It’s a peace that is willing to sacrifice everything to show that God loves us and has a purpose for us, therefore all the trials and tribulations of this life in the end will seem like so many small inconveniences that are forgotten in the light of the more fulfilling and meaningful things of life that follow.

If we are facing trials today: poverty, illness, a difficult family situation, persecution for being a good person or being Christian, let’s ask Our Lord to help us draw from the deeper well of his peace not only to help us keep moving forward, but to be a source of true peace in others’ lives as well.

Readings: Acts 14:19–28; Psalm 145:10–13b, 21; John 14:27–31a.

5th Week of Easter, Monday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord promises that he and the Father will come and dwell in those who love them, and that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to remind us about Jesus and teach us. In a mysterious way on the day of our Baptism the Most Holy Trinity came to dwell within us and be with us always and help us. John describes this as being on the condition of our love: the Trinity only leaves our hearts if we radically deny God’s love: by committing a serious sin. Even with our other sins and failings we can be an inconsiderate host to God, which is why we always strive for spiritual perfection.

God is not an inconsiderate guest either. He reveals himself in our heart, as Jesus teaches us today, which is why the world doe not see it. The Holy Spirit reminds us of all the wonders God has done for us and teaches us interiorly in a way that we can understand, sometimes in words and sentiments that’d be hard for us to share with others. Our Heavenly Father sets all this into motion by sending his Son and then his Holy Spirit.

Let’s make an effort today to speak with Our Lord today not as if he is just up in Heaven, but also in our hearts. And if we’ve been a bad host to our guest, let’s not be afraid to treat him with the considerateness he deserves, or, if we’ve kicked him out through our sins, to turn to his mercy in order to invite him back.

Readings: Acts 14:5–18; Psalm 115:1–4, 15–16; John 14:21–26.