Jesus New Commandment
The Gospel of John could be summed up by a number of different key words. It could be called a gospel of life, a gospel of light, of believing, of knowing, of sending and being sent, a gospel of signs, or, above all, as we see from this passage, a gospel of glory and of love.
Life, light, believing, knowing, glory, love…the meanings of these words do not lie in the dictionary: they lie in the actions of Christ. They describe life and a way of life, and they can be known only as experienced in their incarnation.
As always in John, this glorification of Father and Son is not something between them alone; it does not stop with Christ. The capacity to glorify God extends to Christ’s followers and is laid upon believers as a charge—“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my Disciples” (Jn15:8). Believers are empowered to do the same works that Christ did, and even greater works.
Our actions show God’s glory, too. At least, we are charged that it be so. Jesus prays, “All mine are yours and yours are mine, and I have been glorified in them” (17:10). Here the focus lies on promise and possibilities, looking at the fullness of God’s gifts: “ The glory that you have given me, I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one…so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (17:22-23). As was true for Christ is true for us. We cannot fully show the glory until we have completed the work of God has sent us to do. Or, more positively, we show the glory as we complete that work.
This work, however, is demanding, is not mere feeling, but stands as an enduring , abiding will to do whatever God sends us to do. Jesus states this three times. “If you love me you will keep my commandments” ( 14:15), “those who love me will keep my word,” ( 14:23), and “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (15:10).
This love flows out of communion with Christ. It is who we become, the more we come to know God. God will always call on us to love. And if we love as Christ did, that love is strong, enduring, and faithful; we will love to the end (13:1). This love is not easily shaken or deterred from its primary task, which is simply to express itself in action, drawing from God’s unlimited supply. Perhaps Jesus’ promise in Matthew is better known—“wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20), but in John the promise is much more richly---“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (14:23).
This love flows out of His abiding presence among us. When we live in His love, we can, if called upon, fulfill the highest form of love. “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (15:13). These are high standards for a high calling. We might look at our friends and wonder—if the moment ever came, would we be willing to die for them?
Men’s Society Golf Tournament
On Sunday June 5th, the Men’s Society will be hosting their Annual Golf Tournament in Memory of Mike Buckley. The Golf Tournament will take place at Union Hills Golf Course. Registration and Sponsorship forms are available in the vestibule of the church.
ANNUAL BISHOP’S APPEAL
We kindly ask you to respond to the Eparchial Appeal for this year. We appeal to each one of you to give generously so we can meet our goal. Please be generous to extend a hand of support to our mission.
St. Raymond’s has collected so far $7,790.00 and our goal is $8,500.00. If we don’t reach our goal, the parish has to make up the difference.
Sub-Deacon Candidate’s Corner
As part of our formation, one of the goals of our ministry is to help parishioners develop a greater understanding of our rich Maronite Catholic History and Heritage. In furtherance of that goal we will be adding a short explanation to each bulletin about some aspect of our faith.
From the Maronite Patriarchal Synod (2008), there are 5 elements of the Maronite identity, they are below.
“…it becomes apparent that she (the Maronite Church) is firstly an Antiochene Syriac Church, with a special liturgical heritage; secondly, a Chalcedonian Church; thirdly, a Patriarchal Church with an ascetic and a monastic aspect; fourthly, a Church in full union with the Apostolic Roman; fifthly, a Church incarnated in her Lebanese and Eastern environment and the Countries of Expansion…”
Excerpt from the Maronite Patriarchal Synod, Bkerke 2008
The first element is the term Antiochene Syriac Church, which is used to signify a place, Antioch, a town in northern Syria, now southern Turkey. In Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) is the cave, said to be one of the first birthplaces of Christianity. This cave was where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. Saint Peter the Apostle was considered the founder and first priest/bishop of Church of Antioch. This is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (11:25-27)
“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
Antioch became the center of Christianity after the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
If you have questions about Catholic teaching or our Maronite tradition, or would like to suggest a topic, please email us or tell us the next time we see you. Thank you and God Bless.
The 2016 National Maronite Youth Workshop is July 16-21 in Latrobe, PA.
Please contact Susan DuBois or the rectory if you are interested in going and would like more info. Information for the retreat will be on the table in the vestibule. All travel arrangements must be submitted by June 16th.
The next festival meeting is Tuesday May 24th at 7pm in the Lebanon room. The festival is a parish event that involves a lot of time and preparation. Please consider helping to make this a successful event for our parish. The money raised by the festival helps St. Raymond’s throughout the year maintain the complex.
Liturgy Time Change
Beginning Sunday June 5th, there will only be one liturgy celebrated on Sundays at 10 am until the Fall. Saturday liturgy will remain at 5 pm.
Weekly Finances April 24th-May 1st
This does not include Wednesday lunch
Flyers for the NAM Convention hosted by the Maronite Parish of San Francisco are available in the vestibule. We encourage you to consider joining all the Maronites nationwide for this special gathering from July 6-July 10, 2016.
High School Scholarships
The deadline for the 2016 application for St. Raymond’s High School Scholarship is Sunday May 15th. Forms (hot pink) are on the back table in the vestibule.