May 03, 2015
Sunday, 5th Sunday of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 9:26–31
2nd Reading: 1 Jn 3:18–24
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 doesn’t bear fruit, he breaks it off; and he prunes every branch that does 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 don’t 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.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
In comparing himself to a vine and suggesting that we should be like branches in relation to him, Jesus was proclaiming himself as source of our life. He explained further: “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.” No one grafted to Jesus bears bad fruits because as source of all good things, nothing bad can be derived from him. Now, if all good things come from Jesus, it follows that apart from him we cannot produce anything truly good.
We have all been grafted to Christ though baptism and we have remained in him because of our faith nourished by the sacraments. Retaining our individual differences, the kingdom of God we have formed on earth is a happy mixture of various fruits, making Christian living colorful and challenging. Just as from grape fruits come not just wine but also resins useful for food processing, so our fruits will always be of use to the kingdom for as long as such are derived from our branch – Jesus Christ the source of all good.
To render our fruits useful to the kingdom the second reading of today’s liturgy (1 John 3:18-24) invites us to love not only with words and with our lips, but also in truth and deed. But what is truth? Pilate asked Jesus the same question at the Praetorium. It was just unfortunate that he turned his back before Jesus could give the answer. He was probably afraid of the implications of Jesus’ answer. Unless we want to end up like Pilate we must face squarely the implications of truth.
The fundamental truth we must face is that we have been created a little less than a god, crowned with glory and honor (Psalm 8). In consideration for this dignity which we have inherited from God, our fellowmen deserve our respect and love. By loving them we avoid rendering God mere lip service. Somebody corrupted the text of today’s Gospel verse and came up with this one: “To forgive is ‘di-vine’ and you are the branches.” Funny but useful, for it reminds us that forgiveness belong to God and that if we are grafted to God like branches to a vine, we should be capable of forgiving too. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY: God our Father, grant that as branches bearing fruits of love and forgiveness for one another we may always remain in him – Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINTS OF THE DAY: Sts. Philip and James, Apostles. Philip was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee and disciple of John the Baptist. He announced to Nathanael that he had found the Messiah, but the latter doubted. At the time of the feeding of the multitude, he told Jesus that two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of have a little bit (John 6:7). During the last Supper, he asked our Lord to show them the Father. Philip preached the Gospel in Phrygia and Heirapolis, in Asia Minor, where he was crucified. St. James the younger, was the son of Alpheus (Mark 3:18) and a first cousin of Jesus (Mathew 13:55). He was the first Bishop of Jerusalem and also wrote the so called the letter of James. James was called the just on account of his holiness. Historian Eusebius of Caesarea said that his Knees were as hard as those of a camel, for he was continually at prayer. In the year 62 he was thrown down from the pinnacle of the temple and stoned to death for preaching that Jesus was the Messiah.