Sixth Sunday of Easter (B)
May 05, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



Rite of Sprinkling





Grant, almighty God,
that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy,
which we keep in honor of the risen Lord,
and that what we relive in remembrance
we may always hold to in what we do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading ACTS 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

On Peter’s arrival at Caesarea, Cornelius, a centurion of the Roman cohort, met him, and falling at his feet, worshipped him. 26 But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” 34 Then Peter began to speak to those assembled in the house of Cornelius, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3, 3-4

R/. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Second Reading 1 JN 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Alleluia JN 14:23


Gospel JN 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples: 9 “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 “You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

Catena Nova

Perfect friendship is friendship between those who are good and resemble one another according to virtue, for those who are alike in virtue wish one another good inasmuch as they are virtuous, and they are virtuous in themselves. But people who wish good to friends for their sake are the truest friends; they do this for the friends themselves, and not for something incidental (St. Thomas Aquinas).
Let us deeply consider the love of our Savior Christ who so loved his own unto the end that for their sakes he willingly suffered that painful end, and therein declared the highest degree of love that can be. For, as he himself says: “A greater love no one has than to give his life for his friends.” This is indeed the greatest love that ever anyone had. But yet had our Savior a greater, for he gave his for both friend and foe?…. Let us all in time, then, learn to love as we should, God above all things, and all other things for him. And whatsoever love be not referred to that end, namely, to the good pleasure of God, is a very vain and unfruitful love. And whatsoever love we bear to any creature whereby we love God the less, that love is a loathsome love and hinders us from heaven…. For whatever we love that makes us break God’s commandment, we love better than God, and that is a love deadly and damnable. Now, since our Lord has so loved us, for our salvation, let us diligently call for his grace that in return for his great love we be not found ungrateful (St. Thomas More).

What is that sweet thing that comes sometimes to touch me at the thought of God? It affects me with such vehemence and sweetness that I begin wholly to go out of myself and to be lifted up, I know not where. I am renewed and changed; it is a state of inexpressible well-being. My consciousness rejoices.  I lose the memory of my former trials, my soul rejoices, my mind becomes clearer, my heart is enflamed, my desires are satisfied. I feel myself transported into a new place, I know not where.  I grasp something inside of me as if with the embraces of love. I do not know what it is, and yet I strive with all my strength to hold it and not to lose it.  I struggle deliciously to prevent myself leaving this thing which I desire to embrace forever, and I exult with unspeakable intensity, as if I had at last found the goal of all my desires. I seek for nothing more.  I wish for nothing more.  All my ambition is to continue at the point I have reached. Is it my Beloved?  Tell me, I beg you, if this be He, that when He returns, I may entice Him not to depart, and to establish in me His permanent dwelling-place (Hugh of St. Victor).

A friend is called a guardian of love or, as some would have it, a guardian of the spirit itself. Since it is fitting that my friend be a guardian of our mutual love or the guardian of my own spirit so as to preserve all its secrets in faithful silence, let him, as far as he can, cure and endure such defects as he may observe in it; let him rejoice with his friend in his joys, and weep with him in his sorrows, and feel as his own all that his friend experiences. Friendship, therefore, is that virtue by which spirits are bound by ties of love and sweetness, and out of many are made one.  (St. Aelred of Rievaulx).

What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near… Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort (St. Teresa of Avila).
God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need. Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, of keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us. We know well enough how to keep outward silence, and to hush our spoken words, but we know little of interior silence. It consists in hushing our idle, restless, wandering imagination, in quieting the promptings of our worldly minds, and in suppressing the crowd of unprofitable thoughts which excite and disturb the soul (François Fénelon).
Let us live with God as with a Friend. Let us make our faith a living thing, so as to remain in communion with Him through everything. That is how saints are made. We carry our heaven within us, since He who completely satisfies every longing of the glorified souls in the light of the Beatific Vision, is giving Himself to us in faith and mystery. It is the same thing. It seems to me I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God and God is in my soul. The day I understood that, everything became clear to me, and I wish I could whisper this secret to those I love in order that they also might cling closely to God through everything (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity).



             You might have thought Peter, of all people, would have understood without prompting that God shows no partiality (II).  But no, he needed a vision for that.  Remember the story?  How in a trance, Peter is shown three times --naturally! -- a vision of animals Jews were forbidden to eat.  And he hears a voice tell him, “Get up, Peter.  Slaughter and eat.” But he refuses being a Law-keeping Jew. Then the voice says, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane” (cf. Acts 10:14-15). 


And the following day, Cornelius, shows up at Peter’s door prompted by a vision of his own.  At which Peter begins to understand God would no longer divide the human race, and not just animals, into “clean” and “unclean” people.  The Gentiles were now included in God’s plan of salvation.  And the proof was there, for while Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word (II).
But there's more to the story.  When Peter got back to Jerusalem, he had some 'splaining to do. For the Christians there, led by James, were upset Peter broke the taboo of eating with Gentiles and entering their homes. These and other touchy matters were sticking points to some of Christ's first followers. There was no end to the quarreling they caused. 
        Now in the midst of such dissension, we might remember how few obstacles Jesus himself placed to counting “those people” among his friends. We might recall how Peter’s cowardice and slowness to understand were no obstacle to Jesus’ friendship. Nor were Thomas’ doubts, Philip’s dullness, John and James’ pettiness. Not even the ill repute of Matthew the tax collector, or the dangerous politics of Simon the Zealot, or the dubious morals of the multiply-married Samaritan woman, were obstacles to Jesus’ friendship.  Only the failure to love one another as he loved them was (cf. G).
        But it's a lesson hard to learn, isn't it? Perhaps more than ever in these polarized times, whether in the church or in this country.  But make no mistake, the poles have been there from the start and perhaps we should be grateful. After all, if it weren't for those First Century struggles, we wouldn't be here today.  Most of us are Gentiles, the "wild branches" grafted onto the olive tree of Israel.  
        We might say the same of the other controversies that have erupted in almost every age.  Sure the issues changed, but the arguments did not.  And perhaps we also owe a debt of gratitude to the Second Century Gnostics, the Fourth Century Arians, Macedonians, Pelagians, and Donatists; to the Eighth Century iconoclasts; to the Sixteenth Century Reformers and to the theologians of the Twentieth Century who often met with opposition from church leadership.  Without the challenges they posed and the questions they raised, the faith would not have developed or found clarity; nor would we have the writings of Saints Irenaeus, Basil, Gregory Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, Augustine, the first Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Catholic reforms of the Council of Trent or the Second Vatican Council.  Maybe you haven't heard of them all, but I doubt we'd be here today either if not for the "poles" they struggled with.  
       By the way, the church's poles were often in tandem with state's.  Would we all be here if not for the great struggles that won our independence, abolished slavery, gained women's suffrage, and civil rights for African-Americans?  As we speak protestors on college campuses are enmeshed in yet another polarizing issue.


       For every age faces crossroads: of choosing between a past whose paths are well-worn, and an unknown future whose way is so new the signposts we once trusted no longer seem as sure.  A choice between a vision easily blinded by our certainties, and one given by the Spirit who makes eyes see what they never saw before. The problem is how much blood gets spilled as lines are drawn, positions hardened, power abused, and the "losers" vanquished.
       Which is one reason we come together week after week — mindful of our own causes and convictions as well as those we do not share — to eat of the one Bread and drink of the one Cup where we are reminded, yes, of the cost truth and justice so often impose and, at the same time, of the overarching demands of love, even for our enemies. But for now, at least, we form one Body as the Reign of God comes among us, slowly but surely.

Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli; Prayers for Sundays and Seasons)

That the church may gladly welcome to the waters of baptism those of every nation who fear God and do what is acceptable to God.

That nations with plentiful resources may open their borders freely, imitating the generous hospitality of God who shows no partiality.

That all who by lives of service make themselves friends to those in need may be the signs to us of Christ, who laid down his life for his friends.

That the neophytes, called by Christ in baptism and chosen to be his friends, may go forth from this paschal season to bear fruit that will last.

That those preparing to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of confirmation may extol God and bear witness to God’s gift by their love for others.

That those who have been born of God and know the God who is love may fulfill Christ’s command to love one another as Christ has loved us.

That all the dead who kept the commandments and abided in Christ’s love may know forever the joy of Christ.

God of all nations, in the gift of your Son you have embraced the world  with a love that takes away our sin  and bestows perfect joy. Grant to all who have been reborn in baptism fidelity in serving you  and generosity in loving one another. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)


Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn


There is no greater love, says the Lord, than to lay down your life for a friend;
there is no greater love, no greater love, than to lay down your life for a friend.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love.
You will live in my love if you keep my commands, even as I have kept my Father's.

All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete. 
Love one another as I have loved you: This is my command.

You are my friends if you keep my commands; no longer slaves but friends to me.
All I heard from my Father, I have made known to you: Now I call you friends.

It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you, chose you to go forth and bear fruit. 
Your fruit must endure, so you will receive all you ask the Father in my name.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn

Let us love one another for love is of God;
Everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God.
One who does not love does not know God for God is love.
God sent his Son so that we might be forgiven,
God sent his Son so that we might live in love,
And all who live in love live in God and God live in them.