“Love one another, as I have loved you”

Today’s first reading (Acts 15:22-31) includes the first appearance of Silas, who will be Paul’s companion for much of the rest of Acts. The letter recounted here is the result of the decision of the apostles and leaders of the Church in Jerusalem to affirm that Gentiles who became Christians did not have to be circumcised or observe Jewish dietary laws; but as you can see here they were expected to change their lifestyle in relation to sacrificed animals and sexual immorality.

The gospel (John 15:12-17) continues the Lord’s discourse at the Last Supper. The command to love is followed by a striking message: Jesus does not want us to be his servants, but his friends. Perhaps this is a challenge for us: we naturally look on him with awe, worshipping him as God, as the centre of our lives; it is not easy to see such a person as a friend. A time when it should be particularly helpful is a time of crisis, here and all over the world. We’re being challenged in lots of ways and need all the friends we can get. In our new ways of praying, in our efforts to keep in touch with the sacramental and worshipping life of the Church, to see Jesus as our friend should give us strength. We also pray particularly for those who try and show God’s love and friendship to those suffering from this terrible virus.

God bless and take care
Fr Ashley


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