From Fr. Joe – May 9th, 2021

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From Fr. Joe – May 9th, 2021

May 9, 2021


Our modern culture has really messed with "friends"

Our modern culture has really messed
with a term that used to mean a close
relationship with another person.
Nowadays you hear of someone having
“X” number of friends on technology
driven social networks such as Facebook,
Twitter, Snapchat, etc. The term “friend” seems to be
used rather loosely. Instead of meaning someone with
whom you have a close or personal relationship, it has
gotten watered down to refer to someone whom you
share information with or about, and who might
respond to that information, all while possibly never
even meeting them or personally engaging with them.
In the Gospel from this 6th Sunday of Easter (John
15:9-17), Jesus talks to his disciples about laying down
one’s life for one’s friends (v.13), and “You are my
friends if you do what I command you.” (v.14), which he
later spells out: “This I command you: love one
another.” (v.17) Those Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat
friends, do you love them as Jesus loved? How many of
them would you even bother to share a meal with, let
alone die for?

Though the Church’s Lectionary cycle and schedule of
readings is not based on our diocesan or parish
calendars of events, it is interesting that the scripture
readings for this 6th Sunday of Easter happen to fall
during the early period of the Catholic Services Appeal
(CSA) campaign.

In the first reading (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48),
Peter, though he did not do this perfectly right from the
beginning, comes to the realization that: “In truth, I see
that God shows no partiality” (v. 34); and that God loves
all people and wants all of them to be part of His family
— the Church.

In the second reading (1 John 4:7-10), we hear about
loving “one another, because love is of God” (v.7), and in
verse 8, that “God is love.” Just as “God sent his only
Son into the world so that we might have life through
him” (v.9), God also gave us his Son’s Mystical Body –
the Church – to guide us so that we might have eternal
life. “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that
he has loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our
sins.” (v.10)

In the Gospel (John 15:9-17), we hear Jesus’
command: “love one another as I love you” (v.12). And
then Jesus says of love: “No one has greater love than
this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (v.13).
What does any of this have to do with the Catholic
Services Appeal? Well, if we are Jesus’ friends – or want
to be – then we need to “do what I command you”,
which is to “love one another as I love you”; and “No one
has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s
friends”, which is exactly what he did for us – you and
me. Why did he do that? Because he loves us – all of us
(God shows no partiality), and wants all to be part of his

That sounds all very nice, but how do each of us do
that? To do that myself is/would be overwhelming.
Yes, it is – for any one individual. But God doesn’t ask
us to do it alone. He never even asked his apostles to
do it alone. He gave them each other and thus the
Church to continue his mission. That Church is now
worldwide, and anything that big needs some kind of
organization, some kind of structure, to help it function.
Just like our bodies need some organization in order to
live (hmm – our bodily organs). Our diocese is part of
that necessary structure of the worldwide Church, and
our parish is one of the vital parts of our diocese. And
you and I – we – are each a crucial part of our parish.
None of us alone can do the work of continuing Jesus’
mission (i.e. doing the work of the Church) – nor should
we even want to. Together we cooperate in that mission
of preaching the Good News, healing human suffering,
and bringing hope to those in need.
The Catholic Services Appeal funds so many needed
ministries and your support enables those ministries to
affect people’s lives. When we realize that CSA is an
opportunity to participate in the work of the Church, we
should see clearly how, together, we should want to be
a part of it.

Have a blessed week,

Fr. Joe