Reflection from Fr. John Poncini, Pastor . . .
During these Sundays of the Easter Season, Sacred Scripture takes us back to the Last Supper, giving us a chance to dig deeper into its meaning.
Throughout his Last Supper discourse, Christ’s constant refrain is: if you love me, you will keep my commandment. That commandment is to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34), the commandment of Christian charity. These are his parting words to his closest disciples, the last flow of love from his Sacred Heart before it is broken and pierced.
They are special words. We need to hear them, to let them sink in. Jesus knows that the twelve apostles are normal, fallen human beings. They are weak and ignorant, stubborn, and headstrong. And yet, he also knows that they truly love him. They want to be his disciples. They are just like us: flawed, but committed. He earnestly desires to teach them how to live out their commitment to him, and so he gives them his new commandment: “love one another, as I have loved you.”
That is the mark of a Christian, a true follower of Jesus Christ. It’s not in pretty words, fancy rituals, and complicated prayers. It’s in following the example of Christ,whogave his life for us on the cross. To give our lives, leaving behind our comfort zones in order to help our neighbors and build a better world, to be truthful, responsible, honest, pure, and faithful even when it feels like we’re being crucified, that’s how we follow Christ.
This is the path to loving him and living life to the full. It was the path he taught his Apostles, it’s the path he teaches us, and it’s the path he blazed before us by his passion, death, and resurrection.
Jesus knows that this path is not an easy one, that’s why he promised to send us the Holy Spirit, to give us theSupernatural strengthening needed. This is the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, who resides in our hearts. This is Christ’s greatest gift to us: our own inner source of supernatural light and strength to live out the great commandment of Christian charity.
Throughout this month of May, we celebrate God’s abundant grace at work in a special way in our community. We celebrate the seventy-five children who have been prepared to receive, for the first time, the great gift of Christ in Holy Communion. We celebrate the forty-nine youth who have received the supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation, by our Bishop Patrick McGrath.
This is definitely a cause for celebration!
Please join me in prayer for this wonderful community that we never take for granted these great gifts received, and that we may live by the power of this Spirit, just like Christ, “loving one another as he has loved us.”
Sincerely in Christ,