Saturday, May 09, 2009
5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
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
In today's Gospel, Jesus explains what our relationship with him can
be like and truly should be like. He uses the analogy of vine and
branches to underscore the kind of relationship that will have to
exist between him and us if we are to be fruitful. The cultivator of
the tree is the Father while Jesus is the tree and we, the followers,
are the branches. The branches are important for these are the ones
that bear fruit. If a branch does not bear fruit, it is simply cut off
from the main stem. It becomes useless as it just drains life from the
trunk without giving anything in return.
But how about those branches that bear fruit? These are pruned, have
parts cut off, so that they will bear even more. We are pruned when we
identify with everything that Jesus stands for and when we cut out of
our lives everything that is contrary to the spirit of Jesus.
To be one with Jesus would then necessitate a certain kind of
asceticism that translates into a denial or control of our natural
tendencies. This happens as we are enamored by the values and vision
of Jesus. Our desire then becomes focused on Christ as this brings
about happiness and meaning in life.
There is no better example than that of Paul. We all know the classic
conversion of Saul, a zealous Pharisee persecuting the early followers
of Christ to becoming the greatest disciple of Christ to the Gentiles.
There were those who were suspicious of him because of his background.
But when Paul preaches fearlessly in Damascus and Jerusalem, it was an
indication of his new passion. In the process, he encountered new
enemies, the Hellenists, his fellow Greek speaking Jews, who were
shocked by what they regarded as his treachery to his Jewish
tradition. They had no doubts about the authenticity of his
Saul now becomes a victim of the same treatment he had formerly done
to the Christians. His conversion was not merely a matter of words. He
was clearly revealing the fruit of his new-found life in Christ. This
zeal of Paul fulfills the commandments of Jesus, that is, love God and
love neighbor as oneself.
"Apart from me, you can do nothing" — Jesus' words clearly claims that
only those branches which are connected to the trunk can bear fruit.
Without fruit we are dead branches but, on the other hand, the fruit
is not just of our own making. The reality still stands that Christ is
working in us and through us. The most outstanding fruit of all is, of
course, the love we reveal in our relationships with God and with
To be separated from Christ is always the result of our own choice.
Such separation is not simply physical. It is a separation of
identity. It comes from rejecting or refusing to accept the Way of
Jesus as our way of life. It leads to spiritual decay and death.
We pray for the grace to be always attached and closely linked to
Jesus so that we may indeed bear fruit.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the healing and strength of:
- Francis Torres
- Sophia Gonzalez
- Mylene Lingad
- Francis Torres
- Aileen Olona
- Ester Marcelo
… for the safety of Johnson Cuiting
… for the personal intentions of
- Mila Baui
- Angeli Sison
… for the speedy recovery of:
- Coach Boy Afable
- Pres. Cory Aquino
- Eligia Fernando
… for the strength, wisdom, discernment, inner peace, understanding of
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Aaron L. Lim
- Birthday: Antonino Santos Ocampo
- Birthday: Chester Tan
- Birthday: Kim Atienza
- Birthday: Nikki Ann Ng
- Birthday: Shamaine Ng
- Birthday: Oliva Jao Ngo
- In Memoriam (+): Soledad Romulo Bengzon
… for the healing and peace of all families
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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