Remain in My Love

The word ‘love’ appears nine times in today’s Gospel alone. Why? Because love is what this Gospel is all about. 

Remain in my love. Jesus particularly stresses this as he speaks to His disciples. Who would not want to spend time with their friends? It is the same with Jesus here: 

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” 

And later, “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.”

Jesus loved His disciples, each and every one. He loves us. He loves YOU; enough to die for you, to pay the greatest price one can pay, for YOU. And he wants you to remain in that love.

Now, what does it mean, to remain in His love?

Firstly, though he does say “keep my commandments and you will remain in my love”,  it does not mean that if you follow His commandments he will love you, no! God will always love you, whether you follow His commandments or not. Even if you go to hell, God will not cease to love you. He will always love you.

So then, what does it mean? Remaining in God’s love means remaining in Him. God is love, and remaining in His love means remaining in Him. Being one with Him. My mind goes to John 17:11, where Jesus prays “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” 

Remaining in Jesus means living with Him. Becoming one with Him. Not shoving Him outside of the box. Inviting Him into your life. Because life without Christ is no life at all. Remaining in Jesus, remaining in His love, is a choice. A choice to live with Him at the center of your life. Remaining in Jesus’s love is to hold His hand, to choose to be there, to put yourself there, right next to Him, for keeps. 

“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love…”  We don’t always follow His commandments, and so we fall away. But every time he, the Good Shepherd, comes looking for us. He wants us to be with Him and he continually seeks us out.

Remaining in His love is not a coincidence, it’s a choice. Will you?

Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as BeowulfThe Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.

Feature Image Credit: J_Photo, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/19970-sacred-heart-of-jesus

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

Reading I Acts 1:15-17, 20-26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters
(there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place).
He said, “My brothers and sisters,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

    Let his encampment become desolate,
        and may no one dwell in it.

and:
    May another take his office.

Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men 
who accompanied us the whole time 
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R.    (8)  The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
    praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
    both now and forever.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
    is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
    above the heavens is his glory.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
    and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
    from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
    with the princes of his own people.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you:  love one another.”

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Matthias: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 14, 2021

How does one qualify to be an apostle? The first act of the apostles after the Ascension of Jesus was to find a replacement for Judas. With all the questions, doubts, and dangers facing them, they chose to focus their attention on finding a twelfth apostle. Why was this important? Twelve was a very important number to the Chosen People: twelve was the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. If the new Israel was to come from the disciples of Jesus, a twelfth apostle was needed. But Jesus …

Prayer for Strength to Forgive: Prayer of the Day for Friday, May 14, 2021

Faultless Lord, enduring death for me,
You have consummated the debt of my sins:
Your sacrifice of forgiveness was absolute!
Grant me the strength to also forgive others,
To excuse their transgressions against me.
So I may truly reflect this spiritual fruit,
Obliterate any persistent feelings of malice.
Let each trespass end as a closing chapter,
My continuing on the road of righteousness.
Forgive my sins as I aspire to forgive others.
You are truly archetypical of …

Our Mission Statement

In today’s Gospel, we are given a mission to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every living creature (Mark 16:15-16). This is not a mission of preservation. This is not a mission of selection. It is a mission that extends to every living thing. 

Do your actions speak God’s love and truth? 

This is the question we should ask ourselves on this feast of the Ascension because Jesus did not leave us with a shrug and a happy wave, but with a burning passion to share everything we have learned.

Not only did he leave us with a mission, but he left us with a guide! In the First Reading, we hear mention of the Holy Spirit and in the Second Reading, we hear of the Holy Spirit once more. The last of the Trinity, to stay with you and me forever, come Pentecost Sunday.

Savior Jesus Christ, 

You shared so much with us while on Earth, 

And in ways that we could share with others for generations.

We thank you for laying down your life for our sins. 

You forgave a debt we have yet to understand, in total mercy.

Today we celebrate your most glorious Ascension,

Showing us, again, God’s power and infinite love for us.

We also thank you, Jesus, and our Heavenly Father,

for sending us your Spirit to dwell with us in your physical absence.

Come, Holy Spirit, ignite the passion of our hearts, 

May the embers of our heart burn for our mission. 

Amen. 

Contact the author

Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Pennsylvania. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various Catholic articles in bulletins, newspapers, e-newsletters, and blogs. She continued sharing her faith after graduation as a web content strategist and digital project manager. Today, she continues this mission in her current role as communications director and project manager for Pentecost Today USA, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal organization in Pittsburgh. 

Feature Image Credit: eberhard grossgasteiger, https://unsplash.com/photos/_uAVHAMjGYA

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

In Provinces where the celebration of Ascension is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the following readings are used on this Thursday.

Reading I Acts 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility. 
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized. 

Responsorial Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R.    (see 2b)  The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:    
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
    for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
    his holy arm.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
    toward the house of Israel.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    break into song; sing praise.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.” 
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter – Ascension

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Solemnity of the Ascension

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Reading I Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9 

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
    shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
    is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
    the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
    sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
    sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
    God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy:  a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II Eph 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might,
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things beneath his feet
and gave him as head over all things to the church,
which is his body,
the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

OR:

Eph 4:1-13 or 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 
Therefore, it says:
    He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
    he gave gifts to men.

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ. 

OR:

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the calling
you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ. 

Alleluia Mt 28:19a, 20b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and teach all nations, says the Lord;
I am with you always, until the end of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Life in Him

The readings today remind us that our focus needs to be on God. The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul tells us “…in him we live and move and have our being”. The Gospel has Jesus telling the disciples, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”


We’ve been given the Spirit of truth to guide us on our way in life. We’ve been asked to do what is ours to do by trusting in His ways and to follow the Spirit. This is metanoia; changing our heart to a deeper communion and connection with Christ. We are called to be prophets of a future not of our choosing but that of the Lord.

Bishop Ken Untener expressed that wonderfully in the following prayer:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent

enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of

saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an

opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master

builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.      

Contact the author

Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

Feature Image Credit: Mohamed Nohassi, https://unsplash.com/photos/odxB5oIG_iA

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Reading I Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. 

Responsorial Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R.    Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
    praise him, all you his hosts.
R.    Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
    the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
    old men and boys.
R.    Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
    for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R.    Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He has lifted up the horn of his people;
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
    from the children of Israel, the people close to him. 
    Alleluia.
R.    Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 14:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you always.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.