First reading: Acts 8:5–8,14–17
Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
Second reading: 1 Pt. 3:15–18
Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.
For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.
Gospel: Jn. 14:15–21
Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
In other words
Fr. Roger Bag-ao, SVD (Philippines Southern Province Provincial Superior, Cebu City)
The ultimate measure of our love for God is our ability to obey God’s commandments. Jesus himself summarized the commandments as love of God and love of neighbor. This has been illustrated in the parables of Jesus, such as the parable of the Good Samaritan.
God did not simply give us this commandment of love for us to follow, but he also sent us the Holy Spirit, the enabler, so that we can fulfill what God wants us to be. The Holy Spirit helps us discern how to express this commandment of love in different contexts.
Our present contexts impel us to care for our environment as we experience different forms of calamities due to climate change. The typhoons that devastated parts of the country send a clear message that we have to do something for our environment to mitigate the global warming that brings stronger typhoons which might do greater damage in the future. What is lamentable is that the poor always experience greater damage and loss in every calamity.
In his Laudato Si exhortation, Pope Francis reminds us that to care for the environment, which is our common home, is tantamount to loving our fellowmen not only in this generation but even the next ones.
This we can do if we genuinely love God and follow his commandments. May we remain in his love today and tomorrow.