May 08, 2015
Friday, 5th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 15:22–31
Gospel: Jn 15:12–17
Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends; and you are my friends if you do what I command you.
“I shall not call you servants any more, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father.
“You did not choose me; it was I who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. “This is my command, that you love one another.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The various expressions of the Church in history highlight three constitutive elements of Church life as identified by St. Luke, namely, the kyregma, the koinonia, and the liturgia. ‘Kyregma’ is fidelity to the teachings of the Apostles, ‘Koinonia’ is communion (cf. Acts 2:44ff.), and ‘Liturgia’ is the breaking of the bread (cf. Acts 2:42). At the heart of these three elements is the kind of communion that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI refers to in his Encyclical ‘Deus Caritas Est’ as ‘love that gives no room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life”.
We find these three constitutive elements of Church life well defined in the way the Church started to express herself at the turn of the millennium. Expressing herself as BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities), the Church revisited the old structure of the Church where “all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:44-5). At the practical level BEC attempted to group parishes into small cells of believers that gather weekly for “kyregma” to read the Word, reflect on it vis-à-vis human experience, draw out plans to concretize realizations, and pray together as a community (“liturgia”). This weekly activity empowered many BEC cells to come up with income-generating projects to help one another live decently (“koinonia”).
In an effort to hasten the clustering of their parishes into small BEC cells, some parish priests denied the sacraments to non-BEC members. The unpopularity of the manner of implementation and the difficulty of clustering trans-parochial people stalled the complete implementation of its programs. If these problems cannot be addressed at macro level, the Church must shift to other efficient ways of expression.
But by whatsoever means the Church finds appropriate to express herself, she must always heed Pope Francis’ invitation to exercise mercy and compassion because the God she believes in is the God of love. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY: God our Father, send us your Spirit to be the fire that moves us to love so that no one among us will ever be denied of anything needed for a dignified life. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: Magdalene of Canossa was born on March 1, 1774 in Verona, Italy to a noble family. When her mother remarried, she and her siblings were left to the care of a governess. Magdalene the Marchioness left a life of comfort she would have been entitled to and founded the Institute of the Daughters of Charity (Canossian Sisters) in Venice in 1831. She died on April 10, 1835 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 2, 1988.