Saturday, May 13, 2006
5th Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2006
5th Sunday of Easter - B
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they
were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. Then
Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he
reported to them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to
him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem, and spoke out boldly in
the name of the Lord. He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him. And when the brothers learned of this, they
took him down to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus. The church
throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being
built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation
of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.
1 JOHN 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now
this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our
hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater
than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not
condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we
ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his
commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus
Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep
his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know
that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.
Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the
vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are
already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me,
as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in
me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in
him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone
who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be
burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for
whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father
glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."
The Old Testament often uses the image of the grapevine to symbolize
Israel - God's chosen people. For example chap. 5:7 of Isaiah, the
prophet states: "The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of
Israel, and the men of Judah are his cherished plant."
In today's Gospel, what Jesus is saying to the people of his time
through this passage is this: "I am the new vine, the true vine, that
God has planted in the vineyard of Israel. If you unite yourself to me,
you will bear the fruit God intended you to bear when he chose you to
be his special people."
The point of Jesus is this: As long as a branch is not broken off and
gets separated from the vine, it keeps on receiving the life sap of the
vine. It can live. But it withers and dies as soon as it is cut off
from the vine. He also tells us: "You can be spiritually alive,
experience peace and joy in your hearts, give yourselves in generous
service to others - only if you remain rooted in my love. Otherwise,
you die. Aside from me there is no other source of real life."
We remain united to Jesus the Vine by three ways in particular: 1) by
gathering in Jesus' name, 2) by listening to his word, and 3) by
sharing his Body and Blood.
1) Jesus told his disciples, "Where two or three come together in my
name, I am there with them."(Matt. 18: 19-20) When we gather in Jesus'
name, we have his promise that he's there with us. So, that's what we
miss when we are absent or late for Mass! Jesus is with the assembly
waiting for you. Jesus is with us right from the gathering rite and
beginning of the Mass.
2) Jesus told his disciples, "Whoever listens to you listens to me."
(Luke 10:16) When we hear the Scriptures read and explained, we hear
Jesus' promise that we are listening to him. So, pay attention to the
readings and homilies - no matter how deadly or boring the preacher may
3) Finally, concerning eating and drinking the Body and Blood, Jesus
told his disciples. "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in
me, and I live in him." (John 6:54) When we share the Lord's Supper,
the Eucharist, we have Jesus' promise that he's united with us.
When Jesus told Paul on the road to Damascus, "Saul, Saul! Why do you
persecute me?" (Acts 9: 4-5) Saul was confused. He had not persecuted
Jesus. He had persecuted his followers. Then it dawned on Saul - Jesus
and his followers were one. They were like a head and a body. Trying to
separate Jesus from his followers was like trying to separate a head
from its body. Years later Paul wrote: "Jesus is the head of his body,
the Church: he is the source of his body's life." (I Cor. 12: 27-28)
Closing with a story:
There's a movie called Shadow of the Hawk. In it a young couple and an
Indian guide are making their way up a mountainside, fleeing from evil
people. At one point the young woman slumps to the ground and says, "I
can't take another step."
The young man lifts her to her feet and urges her to go on. But she
shakes her head and says, "I can't go on! I can't go on!"
Then the Indian guide says to the young man, "Hold her close to your
heart. Let your strength and your courage flow out of your body into
The young man does this, and in a few minutes the woman smiles and
says, "Now I can go on! Now I can do it!"
This is the same kind of role that Jesus wants to play in our lives. He
wants to share with us not only his own strength and his own courage,
but also his very life.
Separated from him we can do nothing. United with Jesus, we can do
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the speedy recovery of Aida.
- for the eternal repose of the soul of Loida Jimenez. Eternal rest
grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she and
all the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace.
- Birthday: Rita Lim Formoso
- for the spiritual enlightenment of Armando, Bituin, Tim & Leah
- good health for Nora & Teresita
- for the complete healing of Greg
- good health for Elsa & Paolo
- for the personal intentions of Domingo Alfonso & Family
- Birthday : Allan Alfonso
- Birthday : Romeo Alfonso
- for the eternal repose of the soul of Cristina, Rosvie & Aljohn.
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon
them. May they and all the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace.
- for complete healing of Alyssa.
- In Thanksgiving: Bro. Nanding Balingit
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Diaconate Ordination: Stanley A. Lee
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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