Obando Festival, Sunday Readings and Reflections, May 19, 2019

New Commandment: Agape

5th Sunday of Easter [May 19, 2019] John 13:31-33a, 34-35

childrenAt the Last Supper, after Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He gives them a new commandment: “love one another as I have loved you”. If there is one single, most beautiful line in the Gospel of John or even in the entire Bible, this would be one of the strongest candidates. However, why does Jesus give us a new commandment?

To understand what Jesus does in the Last Supper, we need to go back to the Old Testament, particularly when the Lord God gave His commandments. After the Lord God delivered Israel from the slavery of Egypt, He made a covenant with them through the mediation of Moses. They shall be God’s people and the Lord shall be their God. This was the fundamental step in the life of Israel because God formed them as the People of God. This was an unprecedented privilege and grace, but with great privilege comes the great responsibility. God wanted them to live as the People of God and not as the other nations that surrounded them. Thus, the Lord gave them the Law that would separate them from other peoples who worshiped false gods, and the most fundamental among these laws are the Ten Commandments. If they stubbornly failed to observe the Law and lived as if like the Gentiles, they would be cut off from the People of God.

At the Last Supper, Jesus does the same as His Father in the desert. He forms His disciples, His family, His Church by giving them a New Law, the Law of Love. Only when the disciples keep the New Law, they will be different from the rest of nations, and they may call themselves as the followers of Jesus. At first, we may perceive that Jesus’ new law is easier done than the Ten Commandment. Yet, when we go deeper to the meaning of love understood by Jesus, it is actually the opposite. Jesus’ Law is much more difficult and tougher to do. Why?

In Greek of the New Testament, there are several words for love. “Eros” is the love between husband and wife. “Philia” is love among friends. None of these two Jesus used to describe His love. It is “agape”. While eros and philia are love based on emotion, agape is love rooted in free will. It is the love of action. That is why Jesus is able to teach us to love our enemies. Jesus does not say we should like our enemies because it is naturally impossible, but we can still do good to our enemies despite the hatred and anger.

Deacon Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno
with
Harry Setianto Sunaryo SJ., Xenon Oble and Marvin Obedo

Parokya ni San Pascual Baylon-Obando Church

Obando Church

Follow the facebook page of San Pascual Baylon-Obando Church https://www.facebook.com/pg/sanpascualobando

Sayaw sa Obando 2019

Jesus came, suffered & died tht he may take us all w/ hm 2 heaven. Do not reject his will, effort or offer of salvation. W/ him experience joy 4 eternity. Apart frm him there is only pain & misery.

Jesus’ love for us comes from the love of the Father 4 him. Have u experienced God’s love in ur life? Have others experienced God’s love thru u? Let us love one another as the Father & Jesus love each other: mutual, unconditional, eternal.

Not to believe in Jesus is to remain in darkness: the darkness of sin, ignorance and death. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Don’t stay in darkness. Accept Jesus. Live in the “light”.

Sin makes us “living dead”. Grace, the sharing in the life of God, which by Jesus’ death and resurrection was abundantly bestowed on us, makes us alive again. Stay away from sin. Keep God’s grace working. Attain heaven

Jesus’ sheep hear his voice & follow him. Whose voice do you hear? Do you still listen to that “little voice of God” called conscience? Do you follow it? Make a habit to examine your conscience every day. Follow the good it does say.

What among Jesus’ teachings do you find difficult to accept or follow? Jesus continues to challenge us to believe what he says and obey him. Walk with him and dont leave him whatever it takes.

I dare say that grief is human, but joy is divine. Grieving is unavoidable due to our human imperfection. But joy comes only wen we recognize divine intervention. Expect and accept grief. But pray to God that you go and grow thru it.

Without us consciously knowing it, God is finding ways and means to draw us to Him: in the events & experiences in life, in nature, in history, in the Bible or in the sacraments. Be alert. His revelation is for our salvation.

Human beings are hard to satisfy. They always long & desire for more. Knowing this attitude, Jesus offers himself as the “bread of life” that fully satisfies. Believe in the Lord. Hunger or thirst no more.

Whole night of fishing. The disciples caught nothing. John the beloved recognized the risen Lord only after a sizable catch of fish. God blesses our labor. He sees our pains & struggles & reveals Himself in our joys & troubles. His presence abounds. Look & recognize Him.

The fear of the unknown is one of the most common fears we experience. Know Jesus. He is not a ghost or just any unknown figure in history. He is our Lord and Savior. with him, there is nothing to fear. with him, fear is nothing.

Relationships can only thrive when there is acceptance, respect & trust, among other things. See in your life how difficult it is when other refuse to see your point of view or force you to only accept theirs. Be open. There is much to learn from others.

The bible is written so that by reading and knowing it we may bilieve in Jesus and may have eternal life. Salvation is offered by Jesus to all. Don’t miss it. Read. Bilieve. Put into action the teachings of the bible.

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb alone.  She looked for her risen Lord. Love the way she did… for God & for others esp. those in need.

Jesus is risen! St. Paul said that “If we have died with him, we shall also live with him.
” In this past lenten season, have we died in our sins? And today, have we also risen with him?
Do not let his resurrection be in vain. Happy Easter!

Are you afraid to die? Don’t be… by learning from, living and dying with Jesus. He gave death a death sentence. His love conquered death. For the cross is the ultimate expression of his love. When you love and live like him, dying is nothing.

Jesus made himself a model of service, love & goodness. He not only talked & taught but also put into action his words & thoughts. Follow Jesus. Love. Serve. Die like him, if needed.

If u were one of those seated with Jesus during the last supper, would you feel alluded to as one who will betray him? Today, if Jesus says the same thing, would you be hurt or admit that you did betray him? Check your life. Check your soul. Are you his traitor?

Some men fear to see the success of others because it may highlight their failure. Evaluate your strategies. Adjust if needed. But celebrate other’s success.

The scribes & the Pharisees thought only of their own survival & safety. Whatever good things that Jesus did or said meant nothing to them. Beware of selfish & greedy people. Or don’t be like them. Think of others.

If someone will speak about you, would his words be affirmatively confirmed or will he appear a liar because what he says about you is not true? Let your life prove that what others say about you is true. Or prove them wrong about you.

Jesus is eternally present. On our part, we don’t have to be in an event to have faith. For our faith does not rest in seeing. Where you there in Jesus’ resurrection? Believe in God’s presence even in His “seeming” absence.

Jesus does the will of God that’s why he feels His presence in his life. Doing God’s will makes us closer & pleasing to Him. Feeling alone or abandoned? Come to God in prayer. Serve others. Feel the love of Our Father.

Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it. It was his way of showing his love for us. For without love, there is only condemnation, blaming, humiliation, judgment. With love there is hope, forgiveness & future. Choose to love & forgive than condemn.

Jesus must have been very good so much so that even guards were impressed by him. What will people say when you speak or do something? Act or speak not to impress but to give a lasting impact & positive influence to others.

Sometimes pain & suffering can bring us back 2 our senses & appreciate the blessings we take 4 granted. See pain as God’s voice calling us bak 2 Him. Listen. Repent.

Jesus appreciated d scribe’s affirmation abt d commandment of love. Yet d scribe is stil far frm God’s Kingdom. 4 love is not wat we know but wat we do. It is not an intention. Love is an action. Show love in concrete. Do it.

Jesus worked to restore d unity bet. man & God, a unity disrupted & destroyed by sin. D devil, on d other hand, promoted chaos & division. To w/c side do u belong? Work 4 Jesus, not for d demon.

Prayer is a relationshp bet. God & man. Lyk any relationshp, d mor constant & frequent d connection in prayer, d mor this relationship grows in intimacy. Ask mor than material favors. Pray 2 lav God mor. Seek not jz things but relational gains.

Fight d devil’s temptation strategies: 1. He attacks us wher he knows we are weak. Pray & be strong. 2. He uses d scriptures. Know & liv God’s words. 3. He looks 4 another “time”. Be vigilant & prepared.

D Pharisees & d scribes seem 2 feel uncomfortable & unhapi wen others are hapi & enjoying. They think happiness is theirs alone. Jesus brings joy 2 evri1. Share others’ joy & pain. But dnt be a source of their suffering.

Wen Jesus is d reason 4 everything we do, losing our lives 4 him is not a loss but a gain. Fear no pain or suffering. Going thru hell is nothing as long as we reach heaven.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be “show offs” or perform righteous deeds to gain the praises of men. God will repay us for our “secret” good deeds. Do good. But be mindful why u do it. Please God rather than men & attain heaven.

Wat does salt hav 2 do w/ peace? The salt preserves & gives taste. Here, 4 Jesus it means something that can help have peaceful & lasting relationships: Sacrifice Attention Love/laughter Time. Live a SALTy lifestyle.

Children are Jesus’ favorites bcoz in their weakness & helplessness, they seek others’ help. Their greatness lies in the acceptance of their nothingness. Let our weaknesses bring us to our knees. We are nobody. To God be the glory.

These words of Jesus are difficult but not impossible to do, hard but w/ heroic effort, demanding but mending. To love is human. To love one’s enemies is divine. Where human effort alone may fail, let God’s grace fulfill.

Peter, who hardly knew wat 2 say bcoz of fear, saw beauty in Jesus’ transfiguration. Life shows us terrifying experiences & yet we cn see some beauty in thm. Transfiguration & disfiguration challenge us 2 stay positive bcoz Jesus is w/ us.

Peter thinks of glory, kingship & a leader w/o undergoing pain & suffering. Jesus is the suffering servant who brings glory in spite & thru pain. Fear no pain. Suffering & death are nothing when we gain heaven.

Forgetfulness is costly. Hv u experienced missing a flyt, leaving somethng at home, not attending someone’s special event bcoz u forgot? It costs time, effort, money & relationships. Protect urself frm danger & sin. Remember God’s promis of heven.

Jesus wud not hear d question of his disciples where 2 get enough bread in a deserted place 4 many ppol. Do not be stifled or paralyzed by lack of resources. W/ faith in Jesus, u can even have a surplus. He is our sure “plus”.

Businesses, backed up by all sorts of claims, promote a “germ-free” society, w/ clean food, soaps & sanitizers. Promote a personal “sin-free”, guilt-free lifestyle. Stay clean & pure in thots, words & deeds. Stay undefiled.

Peter’s admission of his sinfulness didnt stop Jesus frm choosing him & making him d leader of his church. Jesus sees beyond our imprfections & givs us our mission. Nvr fear abt ur past or future failure. Trust His trust in u.

Jesus, w/ his disciples rode a boat 2 go 2 some place 2 rest. Upon ariving d shore, he saw pipol there ahead of them. He forgot his rest & began 2 teach. Hv a selfless love. Be a restless lover.

Jesus, w/ his disciples rode a boat 2 go 2 some place 2 rest. Upon ariving d shore, he saw pipol there ahead of them. He forgot his rest & began 2 teach. Hv a selfless love. Be a restless lover.

At times, our knowledge abt pipol hinders us or stands as obstacle to let them prove themselves or their worth. For Jesus, there is something mysterious in each person. Allow that mystery to come out. Give pipol a chance to “shine”

Rejection spares no one. But wat’s important is hw we face it. Jesus, amidst threat 2 his life, simply “passed through d midst” of d crowd & “went away”. Stay strong & focused on ur mission. Reject rejection.

Jesus was accused of doing things thru d devil’s power. Ppol may call us names may be bcoz they dnt knw us, dnt understand us, try 2 discredit or destroy our credibility. Know urself. Prove pipol wrong by ur good deeds & actions.

Jesus is accustomed to doing religious acts. How do u spend ur “sabbath”? Regularly read the Bible; “believe what u read; teach what u biliv; live wht u teach.” 

It is truly disheartening when those closest to u, or those whom u presume know u personally, are d ones who fail 2 understand or support u. Stand firm. U work 4 God, not 4 them.

It is said that “Necessity is the mother of inventions.” D 4 men, not limited by d situation, w/ faith, acted creatively. Faith is powerful. Dnt put limit 2 it. Be creative, inventive & resourceful.

When fame, wealth or power come 2 one’s head, they can destroy his life. Jesus did not come 4 fame but 2 save us frm shame. He did not come 2 establish a name, but 2 establish relationships. Avoid d glitter of fame. Embrace his life.

Was this Jesus’ occasional or regular home visit? For “Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick w/ a fever.” They told him about her & he cured her. Take time to visit or call someone today. Show them ur concern & care.

At this point in his life, Jesus is a man of success bcoz he accomplished wat prophet Isaiah said abt him. Wat abt us? Wat hv we accomplished so far? Have we brought glad tidings 2 d poor? Be a glad tiding to others.

Jesus fed them w/ “multiplied” bread. He walked on d water & quieted a stormy sea. Still his disciples’ hearts were hardened. Unbelievable? Aren’t we like them sometimes? Yet God is patient w/ us all the time. What a great God we have!

Christ is our light. He came to conquer death, the consequence of the darkness of sin. Let Jesus overshadow whatever is still dark in you. Live in God’s grace, in faith, love & good deeds. Start anew.

Amidst our pressing concerns & activities, we may become so busy that we often lose sight of d divine in d mundane things. Look around & see Jesus in pipol, places & events and declare in faith: I have found d Messiah. Or simply allow him 2 find u

In an outburst of praise & thankfulness, Mary recalled & enumerated d good things d Lord has done 2 Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.her & 2 His pipol. Like Mary, count & appreciate ur blessings. Thankfulness is a secret to happiness. Be grateful. Be joyful.

Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.

Wen in crisis or difficulties, some ppol resort 2 stress eating, go into sports or other activities. Like Joseph, w/ confidence in God, we can sleep on our troubles. God is in control

Today’s readings teach us how 2 rejoice: 1st Rdg & Resp. Ps: -God is in & among u/ur midst 2nd Rdg: -by kindness & thanksgiving Gospel: -generously share wat u hav -be fair & just -dnt take advantage of pipol -be contented -be humble like John Rejoice!

John’s greatness is the greatness of being Jesus’ precursor & the greatness of courage. Introduce Jesus to others like John. Fearlessly denounce injustice, immorality & sins on any given chance.

Imagine losing some pipol u love for years. And for God, imagine losing us 4 eternity. That’s why He looks 4 us & rejoices in finding us. Help those who seem lost in life. Bring them bak 2 God.

Life cn intoxicate us w/ material or spiritual desires tht either we possess or possess us. Stay sober & moderate. Vice & sin destroy. Discipline urself b4 it’s too late

Leaving the boat & their father, the disciples are entering into a new way of living & relationship. Don’t be intimidated by anything new when Jesus is with you. He is the new “new” that calls you to a better “new” you.

Persecutions, like problems in life, may be viewed as difficulties to run away from. But they may also be taken as opportunities to grow, to shine & to be better. Never fear pain & sufferings. They are chances for us to gain the “championship ring”.

The end-time that Jesus predicted may frighten us. But there is one consolation. It’s not going to take place at once. That means we have time to prepare, to repent, to love. Let not what’s scary make you worry.

Generosity is not about wealth or poverty. It is the attitude of giving not what we have but what and who we are. You are generous for who you are, not how much you give.

Jesus knew what wud happen to Jerusalem & its pipol & the causes of d bad events to come. Stay close to Jesus. Do what he commands u to do. Sufferings & pains wud come, but obeying him makes us safe & sound.

What the wicked servant said to the king was used against him. The king condemned him for his own words. Be careful of ur action & words. They may be used against you. Say & do only what builds others up & makes a better you.

To pray persistently like the widow in the parable, wanting swift justice to be served, demands a strong faith. Whatever it is u are asking from God, just dnt giv up praying. His timing is perfect. Just wait in faith.

Pipol are always running in pursuit of many things, even in matters of faith: in haste of finding God, His presence or His answer 2 their prayers. Believe & stay calm. Live & promote the gospel values of life & love. There God is found.

Gratitude is an attitude. It does not come frm one’s nationality, religion, profession or education. It is an expression of appreciation 4 a favor or blessing received or evn anticipated. Say thank you 2day. Evriday.

Jesus wants us to watch out & be careful. He knows that committing sin is inevitable. But to cause others to sin is 4 him more woeful & terrible. Bring others to God & not to the devil.

How many lost souls hav we found & brought back 2 God? Have we exerted efforts, like a shepherd, 2 lead them back 2 Him? Is someone in ur family or circle of friends in need of guidance & direction? Dnt be indifferent. Do something.

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

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