News Category: In Step with the Readings

Living in Love

Be Guided by the Holy Spirit

 Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Revelations 21:10-14, 22-23
John 14:23-29

“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
—John 14:26-27a

Before becoming a brother in the Society of the Divine Savior (the Salvatorians), I was a Benedictine monk for more than a decade. And, as a Benedictine, I was immersed in the very practical wisdom of St. Benedict and the Rule he wrote for his monks more than 1400 years ago. One of the defining characteristics of this great saint was his balanced understanding of the human person and of community dynamics. We see this at work in the third chapter of his Rule and his insistence that the abbot of the monastery call the community together whenever there was important business to discuss: “Let the Abbot call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted upon… The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.”

We see the same wisdom was at work in the first reading of this Sunday’s Mass. Recall how in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke presented that first generation of believers as living an almost idyllic existence, devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teachings, “and the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers… All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need” (2:42, 44-45).

But this way of life was short-lived. After a short time, the Church faced persecution and wrestled with questions of inclusivity and what should be expected of the growing number of non-Jewish believers. While this might seem like a small issue for us today, this all-important question threatened to tear the Church apart. Recognizing what was at stake, the community had to discern how to respond to the challenges they faced.

So, what did the leaders of the Church do? They came together as a community, prayed, and listened to one another. Together they discerned how the Holy Spirit was at work in the Church — just as Jesus had promised it would be.

In the end, rather than closing ranks and opting for exclusivity, the Church’s first leaders imagined a new way forward and enlisted others to help them in their mission: “The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones they chose were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers” (Acts 15:22). Humbly recognizing both their own limitations and opportunities before them, the leaders looked beyond the enclosed circle of the Apostles to find new workers capable of responding to the present needs.

This willingness to “look beyond the boundaries” was held up as the ideal for the Church by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio only days before he was pope in 2013. In a speech delivered during the “general congregations” preceding the conclave, he said: “Evangelizing pre-supposes a desire in the Church to come out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also in the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance, and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all misery.” Despite criticism from many fronts, Pope Francis has made this vision of a Church moving “beyond the boundaries” the guiding principle of his ministry and this has certainly been a dominant theme in his papacy. Nothing less is expected of us.

In the end, what’s at stake in all of this is the mission of the Church. Mutual discernment and collaboration in ministry — as we see it at work in the Early Church and in St. Benedict’s monks — calls for each one of to step up and own our faith, living out our unique vocation. Each one of us has a part to play. This is what we’re called to, and this is how we help the Church more perfectly reflect the beauty of that Heavenly Jerusalem (cf. the second reading), becoming more than we ever imagined she — that is, more than we — could be.Br. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

The Glory of God

Sunday Warm up with Tom

May 15 John 13:31-35

The Son of Man is glorified and, in Him, God is glorified. Jesus offers us a kind of circular (and maybe a bit confusing) teaching about God being glorified. Maybe the point is for us to ask, what is the glory of God? And the answer likely lies in the second half of this Gospel reading. It is simply “you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” The glory that Jesus’ offers is the divine love revealed on the cross. The glory of God is pure and unconditional love. What brings glory to God is when His disciples love in this same way.


The resurrected Christ gives us the strength to do things we can never have imagined. Life will often give us mountains to climb, and we wonder how we will find the energy, ability, and determination to forge ahead. But, with a good dosage of faith and a fervent life of prayer we find ourselves succeeding and ascending to heights that once frightened us. What we realize after we have reached the other side is that this hardship we once saw as an obstacle has become a vehicle for something better and greater. We are stronger. The same is true with the Gospel. The prospect of loving one another may seem idealistic or unobtainable. Yet, when we risk moving beyond just looking out for or helping each other to actually LOVING each other, miracles happen. There is something wonderful that occurs with love. We see people in ways we never saw before, understanding and appreciating each other’s journey. Love leads to reverence. Faith is strengthened and we move on to try again. ©LPi


Cristo resucitado nos da la fuerza para hacer cosas que nunca hubiéramos imaginado. La vida a menudo nos dará montañas para escalar, y nos preguntamos cómo encontraremos la energía, la capacidad y la determinación para seguir adelante. Pero, con una buena dosis de fe y una ferviente vida de oración, nos encontramos triunfando y ascendiendo a alturas que una vez nos asustaron. Lo que nos damos cuenta después de haber llegado al otro lado es que esta dificultad que una vez vimos como un obstáculo se ha convertido en un vehículo para algo mejor y más grande. Somos más fuertes. Lo mismo ocurre con el Evangelio. La posibilidad de amarse unos a otros puede parecer idealista o inalcanzable. Sin embargo, cuando corremos el riesgo de ir más allá de solo cuidarnos o ayudarnos unos a otros para AMARNOS realmente, ocurren milagros. Hay algo maravilloso que ocurre con el amor. Vemos a las personas de formas en que nunca antes habíamos visto, comprendiendo y apreciando el viaje de los demás. El amor conduce a la reverencia. La fe se fortalece y seguimos adelante para intentarlo de nuevo. ©LPi


May 15, 2022
5th Sunday of Easter

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Many folks really work very hard to circumvent difficult situations. We prefer the easier way around something, rather than risk inconvenience, hurt or prolonged suffering. It’s no wonder euthanasia is rapidly becoming acceptable around the world. Through purely human eyes, there is no issue bypassing the inevitable, taking control and bringing things more swiftly to a place of peace. If this is the way God sees things, then why does Jesus make such a big deal helping us understand the experience of suffering and embrace it? God’s wisdom clearly takes us in another direction.

Imagine if we were able to eradicate ALL hardship and suffering. Where would we be? As we look at our own journeys, many of our solid more growth producing life lessons have been born of suffering, disappointment, inconvenience, darkness, and despair. There is something sacred about all of these experiences as God uses them to create something new. Envisioning a life without hardship and suffering brings us to a vision where everything is flat-lined and dull. As much as hardship and suffering are difficult crosses to bear, not taking them up runs the risk of us becoming shallow, empty, and lifeless. Helen Keller remarks that, “a happy life consists not in the absence but in the mastery of hardships.” What an incredibly wise insight! Many really successful people and saints were brought to their station in life because they suffered. Suffering teaches us about what’s important and propels us to search the depths of our souls for resources and strength we never would have known before.

This is especially true when we love as Jesus asks us to love. Love, perhaps above any other experience, can cause us great hardship, pain, and suffering especially when it’s authentic and unconditional. While it can thrust us into an incredible experience of God and life on one hand, it can bruise and wound us deeply on the other. Mastering the art of love is the secret to living life well, walking in the presence of God and investing in the joy of the Gospel. Love and suffering walk hand in hand. Compromising one will compromise the other. Maybe that’s why Jesus spent so much time convincing us to accept both. ©LPi


15 de mayo de 2022
5º Domingo de Pascua

El Tiempo de la Pascua trata de hacer nuevas todas las cosas, de mirar la vida con ojos nuevos. Es decir, con la memoria siempre viva y activa en la mañana de la resurrección, con la esperanza de que Cristo está presente entre nosotros. No fue un fantasma el que resucitó, es Jesús vivo que pide que lo toquemos como él mismo pidió al apóstol santo Tomás. El sufrimiento es cosa del pasado. ¿Crees esto?

 En la segunda Lectura de la Liturgia de la Palabra, el libro del Apocalipsis nos lo presenta así: “Esta es la morada de Dios entre los hombres; el habitará en medio de ellos; ellos serán su pueblo y él será su Dios – con ellos; él enjugará las lágrimas de sus ojos. Ya no habrá muerte ni lamento, ni llanto ni pena, pues todo lo anterior ha pasado” (Apocalipsis 21:3-4). Pero, para que el sufrimiento pase, necesitamos el amor, la compasión, la empatía de los unos para con los otros. Nada se hace por magia, se debe de poner la entrega, el compromiso a la persona. “Les doy un mandamiento nuevo: que se amen los unos a los otros. Ustedes deben amarse unos a otros como yo los he amado” (Juan 13:34-35). El Papa Francisco nos dice que “El amor es el único documento válido para ser reconocidos como discípulos de Jesús”. Ahora bien, al ya saber todo esto, ¿cuál será nuestra respuesta? ¿Nos quedaremos impávidos sin hacer nada ante el sufrimiento y la injusticia? O, por el contrario, ¿lucharemos contra viento y marea por hacer el bien? ¡De ti depende todo! ©LPi


Loving as New Creations

“There’s something different about you.”

Think about the times in your life when this has been said to you. Maybe it was after someone complimented you on a job well done, and you realized that you were walking through life with a little more confidence. Maybe it was after meeting someone special, as you carried the glow of that relationship wherever you went. Chances are, if someone has noticed something different about you, it’s because, inwardly, you’ve been changed by the loving or respectful actions of another person.

Love, you see, can make us into new creations. From the love of God flows the grace to tackle any challenge, including the biggest challenge of all: loving each other well. Christ knows what a big request this is. He was human, too. He came and lived among us. He knew intimately what it was to love people in the chaos of their own flaws. He knew what he was asking of us when he said, “As I have loved you, so you should also love one another.”

In essence, this is the call to stewardship: loving as Christ loves, amidst the messiness of everyday reality. Loving with accountability, challenging ourselves and our brothers and sisters to be faithful even when it is hard. Loving with an unflinching sense of hospitality that welcomes even those we do not agree with or understand. Loving with gratitude, giving thanks for the great variety of ways that Christ can make himself known to us through others.  

It isn’t easy — we all know that. But if we ask God for the grace to remain steadfast in this greatest commandment, we will be given what we need to live as new creations.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi


Amar como nuevas creaciones

“Hay algo diferente en ti.”

Piensa en los momentos de tu vida en los que se te ha dicho esto. Tal vez fue después de que alguien te felicitó por un trabajo bien hecho y te diste cuenta de que caminabas por la vida con un poco más de confianza. Tal vez fue después de conocer a alguien especial, ya que llevabas el brillo de esa relación dondequiera que ibas. Lo más probable es que, si alguien ha notado algo diferente en ti, es porque, interiormente, has sido cambiado por las acciones amorosas o respetuosas de otra persona.

El amor, como ves, puede convertirnos en nuevas creaciones. Del amor de Dios fluye la gracia para afrontar cualquier desafío, incluyendo el mayor de todos: amarnos bien los unos a los otros. Cristo sabe qué esta es una gran petición. Él también era humano.  Él vino y vivió entre nosotros. Sabía íntimamente lo que era amar a las personas en el caos de sus propios defectos. Él sabía lo que nos estaba pidiendo cuando dijo: “Como yo los he amado, también ustedes deben amarse los unos a los otros.”

En esencia, este es el llamado a la corresponsabilidad: amar como ama Cristo, en medio del desorden de la realidad cotidiana. Amar con responsabilidad, desafiarnos a nosotros mismos y a nuestros hermanos y hermanas a ser fieles incluso cuando sea difícil. Amar con un sentido inquebrantable de hospitalidad que da la bienvenida incluso a aquellos con los que no estamos de acuerdo o no entendemos. Amar con gratitud, dar gracias por la gran variedad de formas en que Cristo puede darse a conocer a nosotros a través de otros.

No es fácil, todos lo sabemos. Pero si le pedimos a Dios la gracia de permanecer firmes en este gran mandamiento, se nos dará lo que necesitamos para vivir como nuevas creaciones.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi