Homily (Reflection) for Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, V.D. (29th April, 2016) on the Gospel and the memorial
(Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter)


Acts 15:22-31;
Ps 56:8-12. (R. v. 10);
Jn 15:12-17.

St Catherine was born at Siena in 1347. She became a member of the Order of St Dominic. Catherine was filled with an active love for God and neighbour: she strove to bring peace to the quarrelling factions and cities of Italy, and to restore the rights of the papacy, at that time in exile in Avignon. She was a contemplative and ascetic, and her many writings are remarkable for their spirituality and theology.[1]

Topic: Christ’s commandments.

Today’s gospel is also the continuation of Jesus’ teaching that started two days ago. We remember that the condition for abiding in His love is keeping His commandments. And today, Jesus zeroed in on His commandments,

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

Jesus addressed them further, “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.”

Did you notice a change from “my commandments” (Jn 15:10) to “my commandment” (Jn 15:12)? Actually, there was no shift. Saint Paul wrote, “The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’” (Rom 13:9).

Christ calls on us all to love one another, not in word or speech but in deed and in truth, cf. 1Jn 3:18. Saint Catherine of Siena who was filled with active love for God and her neighbour was a very good example for all of us. Whoever wants to abide in Christ’s love must therefore love his/her neighbours as Christ loves us.

Bible Reading: 1Jn 4:7-21.

Thought for today: Follow love, cf. 2Jn 1:6.

Let us pray: May God teach us how to love as His Son Jesus Christ loves us all – Amen.

Saint Catherine of Siena – Pray for us.

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[1] The weekday missal: A new edition (1995). London: HarperCollins Religious, p.1481.

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