May 12, Friday of the 5th Week of Easter
Daily Readings: Acts 15:22-31; Gospel: John 15:12-17
The Holy Mother Church comes out with a letter of appeal or a document at the end of every critical encounter between the leaders of the Church, which could be called either a Synod or a Council. This practice could have come from the First Jerusalem Council in 49–50 AD. The documents must be circulated among all the believers so they may read, meditate, and pray to enhance their lives and put them into practice to create a joyful human family and a better world. Learned women and men have an enormous responsibility to make the teachings of the Church known to all people, mainly the illiterate and those on the fringes of society.
The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles narrates the outcome of the First Jerusalem Council. An appeal is getting ready in the form of a letter. The Council members chose Judas, Barsabbas, and Silas (also called Silvanus) to accompany Barnabas and Paul to spread the teachings of the Council to all believers, especially the Gentiles. The Council takes special note of Barnabas and Paul in describing them as persons “who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 26).
The Council recognized and appreciated the unique and outstanding role they played. The language of the Council is also extraordinary, “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials” (v. 28). The reading says that the community rejoiced at the exhortation. Yes! The teachings of the Church and the preaching must bring joy! That is why Pope Francis wrote the apostolic exhortation with the name “Gaudium Evangelii” (The Joy of the Gospel) and insists that discourses are “sacramentals” to be “prepared in prayer” and “with an apostolic spirit” (23rd Jan 2023).
The Gospel Reading from St. John continues the teachings of the metaphor/allegory of Vine and Branches: “Love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12). Laying down one's life for friends is how one should demonstrate this love (v. 13). Jesus does not consider the chosen men as servants but as friends. Peter will assure Jesus that he would love him as a friend (cf. John 21:15–17), even though his answer would sound inadequate in the structure and context of the pericope. In the same context, Jesus comes out with a memorable and ever-impactful statement, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (v. 16a).
The Lord inspires certain people to say “yes” to his call so that he may appoint them. The purpose is “to go and bear fruit” (v. 16b). The love commandment dominates the pericope by all means. Let us remember that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it will not bear fruit (cf. John 12:24).
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.