for Sunday, May 15, 2022
It was extraordinary. No one could have ever expected it to happen. People
whom the Jewish people normally referred to as the dogs, the gentiles, were listening
to the preaching of Jewish missionaries and were flocking to become members of the
New Way, the Way of Jesus Christ. So many people throughout the various lands
were becoming Christians that Paul and Barnabas had to establish Christian
communities in these foreign lands. They called each of these communities Churches,
not just referring to the building but to the people united in the New Way.
Extraordinary. The gentiles were receiving the Word of God and responding. This was
beyond the comprehension of the ancient Hebrews. They were the Chosen People.
How could others also receive God's choice? Who would have thought? When Paul
and Barnabas reported all this to the Christian Community of Antioch, they were
convinced that God had done this. He had called the gentiles to himself. The world
was being transformed. It's all new.
"Behold, I make all things New," the One who sits on the Throne said in the
second reading from the Book of Revelations. The old order has passed away. There
will be a new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem.
This theme of newness is continued in today's Gospel where Jesus says, "I give
you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should
love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another."
There is to be a new relationship with God, and a new relationship with each
Who do we think that we are that we can just talk to the Almighty Creator of the
Universe every day, all day? The young mother with two screaming children and one
more getting into some sort of trouble in the house, prays, "Lord, get me through this."
The woman or man in business fighting to be honest when he or she is surrounded by
so many who cheat on their jobs, on the spouses, prays, "Keep me faithful, Lord." The
Teen who is confronted daily with the temptation to give in to what so many others are
doing simply to be accepted by the in-crowd says, "Lord, help me to make good
choices." Who do we think that we are that we can just talk to God all day and that He
will hear us and respond to us? Who do we think we are? We are who He made us to
be. We are His Daughters and Sons. Daughters of God, Sons of God, we are sacred,
holy to God. He loves us as a Father loves his children. Of course we can talk to Him
all day. And just as good parents love it when their children confide in them, God loves
us when we confide in Him.
Over 30 years ago when then Bishop John Clement Favalora told me that he
needed me to leave the parish I founded, St. Matthew in Largo, and return to my family
at St. Ignatius as their pastor, one of the many concerns that I had was that I would not
be good enough for the people of Fr. John LaTondress' parish. There were a lot of
holy people up there. Would I be good enough for them? The answer was, "Of course
not." At least, not on my own. None of us are ever good enough on our own for the
various ways that God calls us to serve Him. I know that there are many Moms and
Dads here who wonder if they are good enough to lead their children to God. I know
there are many Moms and Dads here who wonder if they are good enough to create a
holy home. But God, who has made all things new, also makes us good enough to do
His work, or, in the very least, cleans up the mess we make so we can try again. Let
me re-iterate: folks, we all feel that we are not good enough. But God makes us good
enough. He makes us better than we are, infinitely better than we are. He makes all
There is also a new way of living experienced in the way we Christians treat
each other and reach out to those in the world around us. "This is how all will know that
you are my disciples, if you love one another." The greatest proof of our faith is not a
theological or philosophical argument that can be made to defend the faith or some
individual dogma, or belief of the faith. The greatest proof of our faith is found in the
way we treat each other and the way that we reach out to all others. The vast majority
of the people whom I have witnessed coming into the faith, have done so because they
want to be part of this Community of Love. The Eucharist is certainly a great draw for
them because they want to share this special presence of God with the Catholic
community, but the sacramental presence only makes sense to them when they
experience the sacrificial love of the Lord in the way that Christians treat each other.
Before he gave them the Eucharist, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and then
told them to do the same thing. People experience others being kind, loving and good
and say, "I want to be part of that." This type of love is not the way of the world. It is
the Way of Jesus Christ, the Way of the One who has made all things new.
Our faith is ever ancient and ever new. It began 2,000 years ago when the Holy
Spirit of the Father and the Son, empowered the disciples on Pentecost Sunday to
proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the whole world. It is renewed every time each of us
renews our relationship with God and lives this relationship in the way we treat others.
"See, I make all things new." Thank you, Lord, for making us your Daughters
and Sons. Thank you, Lord, for making us sacred, holy. Thank you, Lord, for leading
us to make your love real in the world by loving one another. Thank
you, Lord, for Easter. Thank you, Lord, for making all things new.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 14.21b-27
Second Reading: Revelation 21.1-5a
Gospel: John 13.1, 31-33a, 34-35++
This material is used with permission of its author, Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. Visit his
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