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Gospel for Sunday, May 9: John 15: 9-17


9As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Stay in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept the commandments of my Father and remain in his love. 11I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full. 12This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends, if you do what I command you. 15I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you should go and bear fruit and your fruit should remain; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may grant it to you. 17This I command you: that you love one another.

John 15: 9-17

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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Each other

“Allèlous”, “one another”, is a word that is repeated incessantly throughout the New Testament: not only must we “love one another” (Jn 13.34; 15.12; Rm 12.10; 1 Thess 4.9; 1 John 3.11.23; 4.7.11-12; 2 John 1.5; 1 Pet 1.22), but it is necessary to “wash one another’s feet” (John 13.14), ” compete in esteeming one another” (Rm 12,10), “stop judging one another” (Rm 14,13), “welcome one another as Christ welcomed us” (Rm 15,7), ” greet one another with a holy kiss” (Rom 16.16), “wait for one another” (1 Cor 11.33), “do not lie to one another” (Col 3.9), “comfort one another” building each other up” (1 Thess 5:11)… The Church is the place of reciprocity, of close relationships of brotherhood “with one another”.

But it is also the place of “syn”, the “with”, sharing, company: Paul in fact speaks of rejoicing with, suffering with, working with, living with, dying with, even inventing neologisms (1 Cor 12.26; 2 Cor 7.3; Phil 1.27; 2.17). Christians must “pity” their brothers, that is, know how to “suffer with” them: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who mourn” (Rom 12.15), “sympathizing with… those who are exposed to insults and tribulations” (Heb 10:33); “If one member (of the mystical body of Christ) suffers, all the members suffer together; and if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with him” (1 Cor 12,26). Rejoicing and crying together means living for each other. It is self-denial pushed to such a point that the other is me and I am the other, and so I live the life of the other (Phil 2,17-18): “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22.39; 7.12).

“The whole New Testament is crossed by the concern for communion as the learning of a «forma vitae» marked by the «syn» (with) and the «allèlon» (reciprocally): this translates into a constant tension towards the ability to feel, think, act together, towards the responsibility of behaviors marked by reciprocity. It is a path that arises in the most elementary fabric of daily relationships and materializes in a movement to escape from individualism to always return to sharing. The «télos» of all this is well expressed by Paul in 2 Cor 7.3…: «To die together and to live together»” (E. Bianchi).

Fraternal love, the only ecclesiological criterion

Benedict XVI wrote that the Church must be a “community of love”. In fact, the only criterion of ecclesiality given to us by Jesus is brotherly love: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples: if you have love for one another” (Jn 13.35). The pagans of the second century, Tertullian tells us, said: “See how they love each other!”.

For John, a brother is not every man, but the Christian: and “greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). Why is John, whose writings are among the last of the New Testament, more concerned with the ecclesial dimension of love than with the external one? Perhaps because John, as ecclesial life developed, understood how it is often easier to love those who are distant than other Christians: and the history of the Church, with all its internal struggles, its lacerations, its schisms, the mutual excommunications, the its parties and its factions, its currents and its various movements in perpetual dispute with each other, has amply demonstrated this. Sometimes it is easier to work for the poor and oppressed than to tolerate those who marginalize us precisely in the name of Christ. It is easier to help someone far away than to love a neighbor who lives Christianity with a sensitivity that shocks us. It is easier to forgive an external oppressor than to dialogue with a hierarchy that can sometimes seem anti-evangelical to us. .

If there is so much atheism in the world, let’s ask ourselves if it is not because we are unable to give, with our behavior, the sign of God to men. Are our intra-ecclesial relationships characterized by charity? In the Church is there always respect for individual people, for the freedom of the individual, is there mutual listening, acceptance, equality, fraternity, dialogue, abstention from judgement?

Girolamo, citing an ancient tradition, states that John, now old, was only more capable of saying: “Love one another!”. Observance of the commandment of love is the only criterion of belonging to the saved: it is not the cult, theological or biblical knowledge: only love is: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love brothers. He who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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