In the readings for this Sunday, May 6, the Holy Spirit instructs, God is love, and Jesus brings us joy.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The readings for this Sunday, May 6, are a reminder that we need to pay attention to the action of the Holy Spirit who, incidentally doesn’t keep to our schedule, but seeks to make us more flexible. We also are reminded that God is love, and whoever has love for another is experiencing God. Jesus tells us that the goal of God’s sharing of his love for us is joy; joy for us and joy to share with others.
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”
The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
1 John 3:18-24
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
One of God’s hobbies is to challenge our assumptions. We get settled and comfortable in our beliefs about who God is, and what God expects from us, and then God comes and shakes things up. God wants us to think more, do more—love more. Peter found this out on a regular basis. Today’s first reading illustrated that human beings don’t decide when the Holy Spirit is going to inspire someone—God does. Cornelius, a pagan, had received the Holy Spirit before baptism—there was no question of that. And so, the Apostles knew that God shows no partiality; God welcomes everyone and the Apostles had to follow God’s example. They loved and welcomed Cornelius, baptizing him immediately and making him a member of their community.
The second reading reminds us that the best way to know if we have God in our hearts is whether we have love in our hearts. Love can only come from God, and we can only be connected with God through love. If anger, hate, judgement, resentment, or anything that takes away from love dominates our hearts, we’re not living in God, and we’re not showing gratitude for the free gift of his love for us.
God wants the fruit of his love for us to be joy. Jesus tells us this in today’s Gospel. He wants us to be joyful, and to share that joy with everyone we meet—even (and especially) people who aren’t already experiencing the joy of God’s love. Jesus also wants us to recognize his presence in those who aren’t part of our faith family, like Cornelius in the first reading, through the love and joy that they express. Love can only come from God; so anyone who has love, is experiencing God. Our challenge is to live the kind of love that Jesus lived for us—sacrificial love. This means that our love looks to the other person and cares for their needs. Our challenge also is to recognize God in the love and joy of those who aren’t necessarily like us.
What things make you joyful? What makes your family joyful?
Jesus said to love one another the way that he loves us. How did Jesus show his love for us? How should we, considering the way Jesus loves us, show love for others?
How does following Jesus’ commandments make you joyful? Have you ever been surprised by the Holy Spirit’s presence in someone when you least expected it?
Bonus Question for all three groups:
Do something as a family today that will bring you all joy.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”