This year 2021 the Church in the Philippines celebrates 500 years of Christianity. As part of the preparations, the local Church declared 2020 as the Year of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. This theme on dialogue capped the nine-year preparations. We are also invited to reflect on the document of Pope Francis on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” which promotes the culture of dialogue. Further, we can also ask ourselves if such culture of dialogue exists among our respective families, before it can be experienced in our society at large. Listening with understanding is the key to genuine dialogue that leads to peace. This is the kind of peace that Jesus gives. In the Gospel, Jesus bequeathes his peace to his disciples, after sensing their sadness, and understanding what they are going through—genuinely showing them his understanding, love, and concern.
Can we, in turn, empathize? Does dialogue exist within our family? Do we help promote the culture of dialogue in our society?
FIRST READING • Acts 14:19-28
In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.
GOSPEL • Jn 14:27-31a
Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.