Sunday, May 03, 2015
5th SUNDAY OF EASTER
May 3, 2015 - 5th SUNDAY OF EASTER
Acts 9:26 – 31 / 1 Jn 3: 18 – 24 / Jn 15:1 - 8
First Reading: Acts 9:26 – 31
When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples there, but they were afraid of him because they could not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He recounted to them how Saul had seen the Lord on his way and the words the Lord had spoken to him. He told them also how Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
Then Saul began to live with them. He moved about freely in Jerusalem and preached openly in the name of the Lord. He also spoke to the Hellenists and argued with them, but they wanted to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Meanwhile, the Church had peace. It was building up throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria with eyes turned to the Lord and filled with comfort from the Holy Spirit.
Second Reading: 1 Jn 3:18 – 24
My dear children, let us love not only with words and with our lips, but in truth and in deed.
Then we shall know that we are of the truth and we may calm our conscience in his presence. Every time it reproaches us, let us say: God is greater than our conscience, and he knows everything.
When our conscience does not condemn us, dear friends, we may have complete confidence in God. Then whatever we ask we shall receive, since we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
His command is that we believe in the Name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another, as he has commanded us.
Whoever keeps his commands remains in God and God in him. It is by the Spirit God has given us that we know he lives in us.
Gospel: Jn 15:1 - 8
Jesus said to his disciples, "I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower. If any of my branches does not bear fruit, he breaks it off; and he prunes every branch that does not bear fruit, that it may bear even more fruit. You are already made clean by the word I have spoken to you; live in me as I live in you. The branch cannot bear fruit by itself but has to remain part of the vine; so neither can you if you do not remain in me I am the vine and you are the branches. As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing,
"Whoever does not remain in me is thrown away as they do with branches and they wither. Then they are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words in you, you may ask whatever you want and it will be given to you. My Father is glorified when you bear much fruit: it is then that you become my disciples."
The emphasis of today's Gospel passage is not so much the production of "much external fruit" but of "much internal fruit." Instead of desiring the great things one will do for God, God desires that our wishes be on "becoming" disciples with "much fruit" developed in our inner lives – a Christ-centered life, a life where we have died to ourselves so that Christ lives through us, a life that seeks to satisfy God rather than self or people, a life whose central theme, focus and priority is God: "But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy and peace, understanding of others, kindness and fidelity, gentleness and self-control. For such things there is no Law or punishment. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its vices and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us live in a spiritual way." (Gal 5: 22 - 25)
Otherwise all we find in our lives is an abundance of leaves and no fruit. What is important to God is not the work we do for him, but the fruit we are cultivating inside. Thus, we are able to continue to grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ through our lifetime and into eternity.
Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches: the Father is the vine-grower. We have been chosen and have been appointed to bear fruit for the Father. Jesus said, "I am the real, the true, the actual, the genuine vine." We can attach ourselves to many counterfeit, fake, pirated or imitation vines in the world today. But there is only one Jesus Christ, the one true vine which will enable us to bear fruit for God. Farmers and gardeners understand that by themselves the branches, not connected to the vine or the main plant, cannot bear any fruit. Those unfamiliar with the language of farms and gardens may understand this connection as being online or offline. There is nothing more frustrating for many people of this day and age than to lose one's internet connection. There are many things we cannot do these days if we are not online. The world is rushing to connect everyone to everybody else online.
Let us remember that we cannot bear much fruit unless we remain in Jesus and that Jesus remains in us by his Spirit. In this way the meaning of the words "to bear much fruit" becomes clear to us: it is the spiritual fruit produced in our lives by the indwelling of Christ's Spirit. The Father rejoices when we, his disciples and followers, his sons and daughters truly bear much fruit.
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
FR. JOSEPH P. MENDOZA
For the eternal repose of the soul of Dr. Herminia Sy Sia.
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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