April 29, 2018

5th Sun. of Easter

April 29, 2018:  Fifth Sunday of Easter

See over a dozen connections with today?Legend below

Pope Francis
Regina Cœli:  Jesus presents himself as the true vine and invites us to remain united with him and bear fruit.  As a vine's branches are are fertile only if they remain one with the vine, the secret of Christian life is this binding relationship with Christ.  One must remain with the Lord to go out of ourselves, our comfort zones, our narrow and protected spaces, and go forth into the sea of others' needs and bear witness.  One of the most mature fruits borne from our communion with Christ is charity towards others, self-sacrificing love like Jesus' for us.
A believer's charity arises from encountering and remaining in Jesus, the vine from which we absorb the sap, the life we bring into society:  a way of living that puts the last first.  We're all called to be holy by living with love and bearing witness in everything we do.  Every activity, if in union with Jesus and with an attitude of love and service, is an opportunity to live holiness to the full.
Gaudete et exsultate nugget:  Blessed are those who mourn; they will be comforted”  The world tells us exactly the opposite: entertainment, pleasure, diversion and escape make for the good life. The worldly person ignores problems of sickness or sorrow in the family or all around him; he averts his gaze. The world has no desire to mourn; it would rather disregard painful situations, cover them up or hide them. Much energy is expended on fleeing from situations of suffering in the belief that reality can be concealed. But the cross can never be absent.

A person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness. [The Church has valued the gift of tears: “Merciful God,... bring forth tears of compunction from our hardness of heart, that we may grieve for our sins, and, by your mercy, obtain their forgiveness” Missale Romanum 1962] He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus. Such persons are unafraid to share in the suffering of others; they do not flee from painful situations. They discover the meaning of life by coming to the aid of those who suffer, understanding their anguish and bringing relief. They sense that the other is flesh of our flesh, and are not afraid to draw near, even to touch their wounds. They feel compassion for others in such a way that all distance vanishes. In this way they can embrace Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).

Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness. [75-76]
  • 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:  Saul tormented and killed early Christians without remorse, but after his conversion, Barnabas mustered up his courage to assist and let the Lord do his best work.  Ask the Lord for courage.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Disciples who make disciples":  Jesus' disciples bear fruit for the Lord, fruit evident to other disciples.  Disciples also imitate the Lord in his character and ministry, bringing others to the Lord. Seeing only Saul's fury, anger, and persecution, the Jerusalem Christians doubted he was a disciple.  But they trusted Barnabas, whose generosity they'd seen, and who saw Saul's works for the Lord in Damascus.  Without the testimony of Barnabas, a great reconciliation might not have occurred.  God is glorified when we bear lasting fruit.
  • PassionistWe must be connected to Christ to bear fruit. We're not whole unless we nourish the soul.  We feed our brain, body, and psyche; let's nurture our souls by prayer, scripture, spiritual reading, Mass, meditating on the saints....  Feeding the soul brings us closer to Christ, and as we grow closer to Christ, we grow in our closeness to one another and our capacity to love.  We're connected to the Vine because Christ loves us.  Being fruit on the vine means we work to become who God created us to be and so “bear fruit.”  We need a life of nurturing to bear the fruit we're meant to bear.  Nurturing is required in good and hard times; in struggles we depend on the vine the most.  When we're connected to Christ, we have the grace to pass through the struggle.  “Be brave about everything.  Drive out darkness; spread light.  Don’t look at your weakness; realize that in Christ you can do everything” (Catherine of Siena).
  • DailyScripture.net:  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 can one become grafted into the Lord's vineyard; we must be rooted in the "Tree of Life":  the eternal Father and his only-begotten Son.  Vines become fruitful through pruning so non-bearing branches don't sap strength from the others.  If we abide in Jesus and allow him to purify us, we'll bear fruit of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit."
Dress legend
  • 'Gun' pin:  The Hellenists tried to kill Paul (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Barnabas reported how Saul had seen the Lord (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The church was at peace,... (1st reading)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  ...walking in fear of the Lord... (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  ...growing in numbers,... (1st reading)
  • 'Dove' tie pin:  ...with the consolation of the Spirit (1st reading); we know he remains in us from the Spirit he gave us (2nd reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "May your hearts live forever" (psalm); God is greater than our hearts; if our hearts don't condemn us...; love one another (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)
  • 'Fire' pin:  "If you don't remain in me, you'll wither and burn like branches thrown into a fire" (gospel)
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

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