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The presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

THE STORY OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

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Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.

As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was 3 years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless. Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.

Her first presentation to God, made by the hands of her parents and by her own devotion, was then an offering most acceptable in his sight. Let our consecration of ourselves to God be made under her patronage, and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits. If we have reason to fear that we criminally neglected this duty at the first dawning of our reason, or, if we have since been unfaithful to our sacred baptismal engagements, such is the mercy and goodness of our gracious God, that he disdains not our late offerings. But that these may be accepted by him, we must first prepare the present he requires of us, that is, our hearts. They must be washed and cleansed in the sacred laver of Christ’s adorable blood, by means of sincere compunction and penance; and all inordinate affections must be pared away by our perfectly renouncing in spirit, honours, riches, and pleasures, and being perfectly disengaged from creatures, and ready to do and suffer all for God, that we may be entirely his, and that neither the world nor pride, nor any irregular passion may have any place in us.

Feast day 21st November

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The living Church is the body of Christ

THE LIVING CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST

Cap 13, 2  -  14, 5: Funk 1, 159  -  161

(From a homily written in the second century) 

My name is constantly blasphemed by unbelievers, says the Lord. Woe to the man who causes my name to be blasphemed. Why is the Lord’s name blasphemed? Because we say one thing and do another. When they hear the words of God on our lips, unbelievers are amazed at their beauty and power, but when they see that those words have no effect in our lives, their admiration turns to scorn, and they dismiss such words as myths and fairy tales.

They listen, for example, when we tell them that God has said: It is no credit to you if you love those who love you, but only if you love your enemies, and those who hate you. They are full of admiration at such extraordinary virtue, but when they observe that we not only fail to love people who hate us, but even those who love us, they laugh us to scorn, and the Name is blasphemed.

Therefore, brothers, if we do the will of God the Father, we shall be members of the first spiritual Church that was created before the sun and the moon; but if we fail to do the will of the Lord, we shall be among those to whom it is said in Scripture: My house has been made into a robbers’ den. We must choose then, if we want to be saved, to be members of the Church of life.

You surely cannot be ignorant of the fact that the living Church is the body of Christ; for Scripture says: God made man male and female. Now the male signifies Christ, and the female signifies the Church, which, according to both the Old and the New Testament, is no recent creation, but has existed from the beginning. At first the Church was purely spiritual, even as our Jesus was spiritual, but it appeared in the last days to save us.

For the spiritual Church was made manifest in the body of Christ, in order to show us that if we uphold its honour in the outward, visible form, and do not defile it, we shall, through the Holy Spirit be made its members in the true, spiritual sense. For the body of the Church is a copy of the Spirit, and no one who defaces the copy can have any part in what the copy represents. In other words, brothers, you must preserve the honour of the body in order to share in the Spirit. For if we say that the body is the Church and the Spirit is Christ, it follows that anyone who dishonors his body, dishonors the Church. Such a man will have no part in the Sprit, which is Christ. But if the Holy Spirit is joined to it, this body can receive an immortal life that is wonderful beyond words, for the blessings God has made ready for his chosen ones surpass all human powers of description.

 

 

Commemoration of the dead

                                                                      COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD

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November is the month when we especially remember the faithful departed. We offer prayers and sacrifices for the souls in purgatory.

PRAYER FOR THE DEAD

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in Peace.

Amen.

 

It is a holy thought to pray for the dead

FROM A SERMON BY SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN, BISHOP

IT IS A HOLY THOUGHT TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD

 

 (Or. 7, in lauden Caesarii fratris, 23-24: PG 35, 786-787)

 
What is man that you are mindful of him? What is this new mystery surrounding me? I am both small and great, both lowly and exalted, mortal and immortal, earthly and heavenly. I am to be buried with Christ and to rise again with him, to become a coheir with him, a son of God, and indeed God himself.

This is what the great mystery means for us; this is why God became man and became poor for our sake: it was to raise up our flesh, to recover the divine image, to re-create mankind, so that all of us might become one in Christ who perfectly became in us everything that he is himself. So we are no longer to be male and female, barbarian and Scythian, slave and free—distinctions deriving from the flesh—but are to bear within ourselves only the seal of God, by whom and for whom we were created. We are to be so formed and molded by him that we are recognized as belonging to his one family.

If only we could be what we hope to be, by the great kindness of our generous God! He asks so little and gives so much, in this life and in the next, to those who love him sincerely. In a spirit of hope and out of love for him, let us then bear and endure all things and give thanks for everything that befalls us, since even reason can often recognize these things as weapons to win salvation. And meanwhile let us comment to God our own souls and the souls of those who, being more ready for it, have reached the place of rest before us although they walked the same road as we do.

Lord and Creator of all, and especially of your creature man, you are the God and Father and ruler of your children; you are the Lord of life and death, you are the guardian and benefactor of our souls. You fashion and transform all things in their due season through your creative Word, as you know to be best in your deep wisdom and providence. Receive now those who have gone ahead of us in our journey from this life.

And receive us too at the proper time, when you have guided us in our bodily life, as long as may be for our profit. Receive us prepared indeed by fear of you, but not troubled, not shrinking back on that day of death or uprooted by force like those who are lovers of the world and the flesh. Instead, may we set out eagerly for that everlasting and blessed life which is Christ Jesus our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 Read also  the second book of Maccabees 12  :  32  -  46

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Saint Francisco, Saint Jacinta and Lucia

SAINT FRANCICO, SAINT JACINTA AND LUCIA

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Saint Jacinta, Saint Francisco Marto and Lucia’s Story

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three Portuguese shepherd children from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fátima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917.

 

ANGEL OF PEACE

THE FATIMA PRAYERS TAUGHT BY THE ANGEL OF PEACE

PARDON PRAYER

My God, I adore, I hope and love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You. (Prayer of the Angel, 1916)

ANGEL’S PRAYER

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners. (Prayer of the Angel, 1916)

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  SACRIFICE PRAYER

O Jesus, it is for the love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. ( Our Lady, 13 July 1917)

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament. (Our Lady, 13 May 1917)

FATIMA PRAYER DECADE PRAYER

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those have most need of Your mercy. (Our Lady, 13 July 1917)

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Feast of all Saints

FEAST OF ALL SAINTS (1st of November)

saints11-ALL SAINTS PICTURE

The Feast of All Saints is one of the greatest of all the feasts because it celebrates what could have been impossible. The cross is a tree that bears fruit. This is the feast of its harvest. The celebrations of the mysteries in the life of Our Lord are glorious and there is no detracting from them. But He was God. This day we celebrate the perfecting of human nature, by grace pouring from the side of Christ on the cross, through His Church and His sacraments, remaking men after their despoiling in the Garden.

I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: and they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God! [Apoc. vii. 9, 10]

 

TIME is no more; it is the human race eternally saved that is thus presented in vision to the prophet of Patmos. Our life of struggle and suffering on earth is, then, to have an end. Our long-lost race is to fill up the angelic ranks thinned by Satan’s revolt; and, uniting in the gratitude of the redeemed of the Lamb, the faithful spirits will sing with us:

 ’Thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever!’ [Ibid. 12]

And this shall be the end, as the Apostle says; [1 Cor. xv. 24] the end of death and suffering; the end of history and of its revolutions, which will then be explained. The old enemy, hurled down with his followers into the abyss, will live on only to witness his own eternal defeat. The Son of Man, the Saviour of the world, will have delivered the kingdom to God His Father; and God, the last end of creation and of redemption, will be all in all. [1 Cor. xv. 24-28]

PRAYER

Prayer to the Saints and Angels Before Mass: Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, heavenly Virtues, Cherubim and Seraphim; all Saints of God, holy men and women, and especially my patrons: intercede for me that I may be worthy to offer this Sacrifice to almighty God, to the praise and glory of His name, for my own welfare. Amen.

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Saint for our times

SAINT FOR OUR TIMES 

SAINT PETER JULIAN EYMONDSAINT PETER JULIAN EYMARD – RELIGIOUS FOUNDER AND ADORER OF THE EUCHARIST

 

St. Peter Julian Eymard was born at La Mure in the diocese of Grenoble in the French Alps in 1811 and ordained priest in 1834. In 1839 he entered the Marist Congregation at Lyon that was still in its infancy, where he became the main collaborator with Fr. Jean-Claude Colin the founder. His ministry with the Marist group was intensive and led to him becoming the provincial and thus visiting many of the Marist communities in France including Paris. It was on a visit here that he met the Association of the nocturnal adorers of the Blessed Sacrament of the shrine of perpetual adoration for the Marist Congregation. The superiors believed this was not part of their charism and moved him to a Marist college outside Paris in the hope that he would forget the idea.

He felt deeply about the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and decided to leave the Marists in 1856 and with a French diocesan priest Fr Raymond de Cuers decided to establish a group dedicated to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They found a house to rent ironically in a street called rue d’Enter (Hell Street). He decided that this would be his life’s work to found a religious congregation devoted to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (The Blessed Sacrament Fathers). It was immediately approved by the local bishop and in 1863 by Pope Pius IX.

He died at the age of 57 after a life of strenuous work and difficulties in founding the congregation in his native village of La Mure on 1st August 1868. He was canonised in 1962 and in 1995 recorded in the Roman calender as “apostle of the Eucharist”.

REFLECTION

In every century, sin has been painfully real in the life of the Church. It is easy to give in to despair, to speak so strongly of human failings that people may forget the immense and self-sacrificing love of Jesus, as his death on the cross and his gift of the Eucharist make evident. Peter Julian knew that the Eucharist was key to helping Catholics live out their baptism and preach by word and example the Good News of Jesus Christ.

real-presence OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

“The Eucharist is the supreme proof of the love of Jesus. After this, there is nothing more but Heaven itself,”

“The Eucharist is the link that binds the Christian family together. Take away the Eucharist and you have no brotherliness left,”

“Give thanks therefore to God the Father for having given you His divine Son not only as Brother in the Incarnation, as Teacher of truth, and as Savior on the Cross, but especially as your Eucharist, your bread of life, your heaven already begun.”

“Thank the Holy Ghost for continuing, through the priests, to produce Him daily on the altar, as He did the first time in Mary’s virginal womb.”

“Let your thanksgiving ascend to the throne of the Lamb, to the Hidden God as a sweet-smelling incense, as the most beautiful hymn of your soul, as the purest and tenderest love of your heart.”

“Thank Him in all humility of heart, like Saint Elizabeth in the presence of Mary and the Word Incarnate; thank Him with the vibrant ardor of Saint John the Baptist when he felt the closeness of his divine Master, hidden like himself in His mother’s womb; thank Him with the joy and generosity of Zacheus when he received the visit of Jesus in his house; thank Him with the Holy Church and the heavenly court.”

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The Spirit pleads for us

THE SPIRIT PLEADS FOR US

From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop (EP. 130, 14, 27-15, 28: CSLE 44, 71 – 73)

 THE SPIRIT PLEADS FOR US

The person who asks for and seeks this one thing from the Lord makes his petition confidently and serenely. He has no fear that, when he receives it, it may harm him, for if this is absent, anything else he duly receives brings no benefit at all. This is the one, true and only life of happiness, that, immortal and incorruptible in body and spirit, we should contemplate the Lord’s graciousness forever. It is for the sake of this one thing that everything else is sought and without impropriety requested. The person who has this will have all that he wants; in heaven, he will be unable to want, because he will be unable to possess anything that is unfitting.

In heaven is the fountain of life, that we should now thirst for in prayer as long as we live in hope and do not yet see the object of our hope, under the protection of his wings in whose presence is all our desire, so that we may drink our fill from the plenty of his house and be given drink from the running stream of his delights, for with him is the fountain of life, and in his light we shall see light, when our desire will be satisfied with good things, and there will be nothing to ask for with sighs but only what we possess with joy.

Yet, since this is that peace that surpasses all understanding, even when we ask for it in prayer we do not know how to pray for what is right. Certainly we do not know something if we cannot think of it as it really is; whatever comes to mind we reject, repudiate, find fault with; we know that this is not what we are seeking, even if we do not yet know what kind of thing it really is.

There is then within us a kind of instructed ignorance, instructed, that is, by the Spirit of God who helps our weakness. When the Apostle said: If we hope for something we do not see, we look forward to it with patience, he added, In the same way the Spirit helps our weakness; we do not know what it is right to pray for, but the Spirit himself pleads with sighs too deep for words. He who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for he pleads for the saints according to God’s will.

We must not understand by this that the Holy Spirit of God pleads for the saints as if he were someone different from what God is: in the Trinity the Spirit is the unchangeable God and one God with the Father and the Son. Scripture says: He pleads for the saints because he moves the saints to plead, just as it says: The Lord your God tests you, to know if you love him, in this sense, that he does it to enable you to know. So the Spirit moves the saints to plead with sighs too deep for words by inspiring in them a desire for the great and as yet unknown reality that we look forward to with patience. How can words express what we desire when it remains unknown? If we were entirely ignorant of it we would not desire it; again, we would not desire it or seek it with sighs, if we were able to see it.

Saint John Paul II

SAINT JOHN PAUL II

SAINT JOHN PAUL II

TODAY IS THE 10th ANNIVVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF POPE St. JOHN PAUL II. (22nd OCTOBER)

 Called by some people St. John Paul the Great, John Paul II held the papacy for a whopping 26 years, from October 16th, 1978 to April 2nd, 2005. During that time he published 14 encyclicals, started World Youth Day, led the Church through a special jubilee for the year 2000, visited 129 countries, canonized 483 saints, instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, added the Luminous Mysteries to the rosary, and much more. Most importantly, he brought the Gospel to the ends of the earth, forcefully preached the Gospel of Life, inspired thousands of young men to enter the priesthood, and inspired a new generation of young people.

John-Paul-II-1989

AND HERE ARE SOME OF HIS BEST QUOTES.

Enjoy!

1) “The liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands… Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task. […] This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops!”

Homily at World Youth Day, Denver, August 15th, 1993, 6

2) “[W]e are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”

Evangelium Vitae, 28

3) “It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

“It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”

Address at World Youth Day, Rome, August 19th, 2000, 5

4) “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ!”

Homily at Mass for his inauguration as pope, October 22nd, 1978, 5

5) “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.”

Address to the new ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See, May 25th, 2000

6) “There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us.

“And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world.”

7) “We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and

Angelus given in Adelaide, Australia, November 30th, 1986, 3

8) “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

Homily in Perth, Australia, November 30th, 1986, 4

9) “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself.”

10) “Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”.

11) Only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life. And so I invite you today to look to Christ.

 “When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill your potential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.”

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Jesus the true vine

JESUS THE TRUE VINE

IMAGE OF JESUS

JESUS IS THE TRUE VINE 

John 15: 1 – 17 THE TRUE VINE AND THE BRANCHES

Down through Jewish history, the vine became the symbol of Israel. During the Macabees period of history, the symbol of the vine was on the coins of Israel. It was over the main doors of the synagogues. Josephus in describing Herod’s Temple in Jesus’ days, “Under the crown – work was spread out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down from a great height, the largeness and the workmanship of which were an astonishing sight to the spectators” (Antiquities of the Jews, 5.5.4).

The prophet Ezekiel reminds us the vine is good for nothing except to bear fruit. The vine was a symbol of the spiritual relationship between God and Israel. The fruit of righteousness was to honor and glorify God. The crooked, dwarf is worthless wood as fuel because it flames up like paper and is gone instantly. You could not use it to make furniture. It was too soft and no good for lumber. You cannot use it as a tent peg because it crumbles or flexes when you hit it. It fulfills only one purpose by bearing rich, delicious fruit. Israel was a wild, rotten grape. Ezekiel tells us she was ripe for the great winepress of the wrath of God (Ezekiel 15:1–6; 19:10–14).

THE PURPOSE OF THE VINE (15:2)

The purpose of the vine is to bring forth fruit. The whole emphasis of the allegory of the vine is fruit bearing. God expected Israel to produce luscious, beautiful, rich choice grapes of righteousness. She produced sour, rotten, stinking, tasteless grapes. God was looking for justice and righteousness; instead he found oppression, cruelty, exploitation of men. Jesus said the purpose of the vine was “that it may keep on bearing more and more fruit”.

God expects the fruit of the Holy Spirit produced in our lives. Only Jesus living in us can produce the fruit of the Spirit. God expects to see likeness to Jesus Christ. He examines our lives and expects to see love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, and self–control. The fruit is Christ–likeness. The fruit is the righteousness of God in the heart. It is the likeness of Christ.

THE PRINCIPLE OF FRUITFULNESS (15:4–8)

Jesus looks for His own life reproduced in us. He wants to reproduce the life of the Vine in the branches. He tells us the secret in verses four and five, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” The single most important thing in your life is an intimate, abiding love relationship with Jesus Christ. This is our responsibility in our position in Christ. “You in Me, and I in you.” That was the kind of life Jesus had with the Father while He was here on the earth. It is an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit who lives within us. The Apostle Paul used the expression “in” Christ to communicate this same vital connection that exists between Christ and the believer. The basic relationship is already established by the coming of the Holy Spirit into the believer’s life.

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

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