Sunday Scriptures

Put Pride Aside and Join in at Holy Mass

 by Father William Dulaney

CHANCES are many of us have said or heard something like this:
“People tell me I’m okay. I have a steady job, love my family, and treat others with respect. I’ve never hurt anyone. I help others whenever I can, work as a volunteer, donate blood, and contribute to charitable causes. Since I’m a good person, I don’t see why I need to go to Mass every Sunday.”
Today’s Scripture readings can be helpful for anyone struggling with the sentiments expressed in the above statement. These texts challenge us to reflect on the quality of our relationship with God and accept our responsibility as the Risen Christ’s disciples to proclaim and live His Gospel message, making it an effective force for good in today’ s world.
The excerpt from John’s Letter exhorts: “Beloved, let us love one another.”
Charity is and must be the distinctive mark of Christians. When we live in charity, we bear witness to and make real the love of Christ; we inspire and earn the respect of others, believers and non-believers alike. When we live otherwise, we discredit the Gospel and give bad example.
There is concrete evidence many Christians take seriously the call to charity. We are blessed with an abundance of volunteers in parishes, schools, youth programs, soup kitchens, hospitals, and bread lines. Religious education program and parochial school students are encouraged to support the missions, donate food at Thanksgiving and toys at Christmas, and return their mite boxes filled each Lent. Confirmation candidates and High school students discover the sacrifice and rewards involved in helping others as they fulfill Christian service requirements.
God certainly approves of our sacrifices for and kindnesses toward others.  We note, however, immediately after he tells us to “love one another,” John declares “love is of God” and adds ‘’in this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us and sent His Son as all expiation for our sins.”
If we want to be worthy disciples of Christ, we must remember we cannot separate our good deeds from our love of God or from our relationship to Jesus who died for us. The good we do is done in His name.
In the Gospel passage, which is part of the Last Supper Discourses, Jesus reminds the disciples “it was not you who chose me, but I who chose you to go forth and bear the fruit that will remain.” He professes His love for them and urges them to keep His commandments so they will remain in His love.
Like the disciples at the Last Supper, we must remain united to Christ if we are to bear good fruits as we do His work in the world. Realizing Our Lord knew His first disciples couldn’t fulfill their mission apart from Him, we can appreciate our own need for Jesus’ abiding presence and guidance in our lives as we endeavor to love others and spread the Good News.
After changing bread and wine into His Body and Blood at the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples to “do this in memory of me.”
When we respond to Jesus’ directive and gather to celebrate the Eucharist only good things happen. We hear the Word proclaimed and discover how it can help us grow in our relationship with God and strengthen our resolve to serve others.
As we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we realize we’re part of a congregation of believers and are glad to know we’re not alone as we witness to our faith.
Awareness of what can and should occur when we go to Mass might help us view the commandment “to keep holy the Lord’s Day” and the precept to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation in a positive light. Having celebrated Eucharist and worshipped on Sundays, we should he refreshed and renewed.
We’re good people who work hard and want to do what’s right. Demanding as it may be at times, we want to obey Jesus Gospel command to “love one another” and be counted among His faithful followers. We might ask ourselves if false pride isn’t involved if we feel we can do what Our Lord wants without His help. Since Jesus pleads with us to keep His commandments so we remain in His love, we shouldn’t be too quick to say we don’t need what He offers us at Mass on Sundays.
Hope to see you in Church![hr] Readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
1 John 3, 18-24
John 15, 1-8[hr] Father Dulaney serves as parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great parish, Bellerose.