- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

May 4, 2018

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

5th Friday of Easter
Acts 15: 22 – 31; Ps 57; John 15: 12 – 17

The reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us a window into the days of the early church. There were questions, some confusion about what was no longer valid and what should be kept. Hence, the situation of some of the believers who took it upon themselves to travel to Antioch and instruct other believers in what they considered the right path.

And so the Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church, sent Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas with an important letter which delighted and encouraged the believers in Antioch.

In that letter read to the Church of Antioch, there is this sentence: “…we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” – what a gracious and profound affirmation that is. The grace in the Church recognized and affirmed the grace active in Barnabas and Paul, surely these men were encouraged…and humbled by it.

In the Gospel for today Jesus is the one who affirms – affirms his disciples at the Last Supper and affirms us here and now – the word of God is always living and active. The Lord Jesus, the living voice of the Father, says, “I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father.” “I have called you friends.”

When we are moved to spend time in prayer – it is because the Lord invites us as His friend.

When we spend time before the Blessed Sacrament – seeing in the Consecrated Host the Lord Jesus Himself – it is because the Lord looks upon us as His friend.

When we devote time to Lectio – it is because the Lord says, “Come, friend, let me reveal Myself to you.”

In that moment of receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord, in that sacred silent moment, the Lord says, “I call you friend!”

To be so affirmed by God – to be so affirmed with all our humanness, imperfections, sinfulness is to taste, experience the infinite mercy of God. The words of the Responsorial Psalm say it all: “I will give thanks to You, O Lord…for Your mercy towers to the heavens…” (Ps 57)