May 3, 2015

5th Sun. of Easter

May 3, 2015:  Fifth Sunday of Easter

  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Barnabas reported to the disciples how Saul had seen the Lord (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace  (1st reading)
  • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  All shall bow down before the Lord alone (psalm)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  God is greater than our hearts; if our hearts don't condemn us...; love one another  (2nd reading)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  We know he remains in us from the Spirit he gave us (2nd reading)
  • Tie with grapes, other fruit:  “I am the true vine; my Father is the vine grower; you're the branches"; bear fruit to glorify my Father (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

Thanks to Ed Bolduc:
Pope Francis Regina Cœli
Jesus, at the Last Supper, when he knows his death is near, wants to impress in the disciples that even when he's no longer physically present, they can remain united with him and bear fruit, but those who lose communion with him become sterile, harmful to the community.  To express this, Jesus uses the image of the vine and branches.
Jesus is the vine, and through Him–like sap in a tree–God's love, the Holy Spirit, passes to the branches.  Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to him.  As the branches depend totally on the vine, in which is the source of their life, we Christians received new life from Christ at baptism and can remain in communion with him.  We must remain faithful to our baptism and grow in intimacy with the Lord through prayer, listening and docility to his Word, and the Sacraments.
Those united to Jesus enjoy the gifts of the Spiritlove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-controland so do good for neighbor and society.  We're recognized as a true Christians by this attitude, as trees are recognized by their fruit.  The fruits of this union with Christ are wonderful:  the Spirit transforms our soul, understanding, will, affections, and even body.  We receive a new way of being; Christ's life becomes ours:  we can think, act, and see like him and so love our brothers, beginning with the poor and suffering, with his heart, and so bear fruits of goodness, charity, and peace.
Each of us is a branch of the Vine; and together we're called to bear the fruits of this membership in Christ and the Church.  Mary, pray that we may be living branches in the Church and witness coherently to our faith, knowing that we all participate in the Lord's saving mission.
  • Acts 9:26-31  Saul tried to join the Jerusalem disciples, but they didn't believe he was a disciple till Barnabas told them how he'd spoken boldly in Jesus' name.  He spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him.  The church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace, being built up, and, with the consolation of the Spirit, growing in numbers.
  • Ps 22:26-28, 30-32  "I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people."  The lowly shall eat their fill.  All the ends of the earth shall turn to and bow before and serve the Lord alone....
"I am the vine..."
  • 1 Jn 3:18-24  Love in deed and truth.  We have confidence in God because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.  His commandment:  believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.  Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them.  We know he remains in us from the Spirit he gave us.
  • Jn 15:1-8  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the grower; he takes away every branch that doesn't bear fruit and prunes the ones that do so they bear more.  Remain in me, as I do in you; as a branch can't bear fruit unless it stays on the vine, neither can you unless you stay in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, but without me you can do nothing.  My Father is glorified when you bear fruit and become my disciples.”
    • Creighton:  Actions speak louder than words.  John's tips:  Love one another, keep God's commandments, and do what pleases him—easier said than done. / The vine grower cares for individual branches, doing whatever is needed for more fruit....
    • Passionist:  We all need Jesus; he connects us with the Father, who gives us life. The more time we spend with God, the more productive, joyful, and fruitful we'll be.  As we allow the Spirit to correct, teach, and fill us, we grow more into God's likeness and enjoy the fruits of the Spirit.  Thank God for life and for being attached to the vine.  May we deepen our faith, surrender to the Spirit, and make more room for God.
    •  The vine image was rich for the Jews since Israel was covered with vineyards. "The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel."  God planted Israel "as his choice vine."  The vine was also used as a sign of degeneration:  Israel "yielded wild grapes."  Israel had become a "degenerate and wild vine."  When Jesus called himself the true vine, he made clear that only through him one can become grafted into the Lord's vineyard.  Vines become fruitful through pruning so the non-bearing branches don't sap strength from the others.  We'll bear fruit if we abide in Jesus and allow him to purify us.
    • Sunday-trumped saints, via Universalis:  Philip and James, Apostles

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