5th Sunday of Easter (B)


5th SUNDAY OF EASTER (B) John 15: 1-8 – April 29, 20185

Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit “.

Scientists tell us that we only use a small part of our brains and the rest we leave it undeveloped. We often find out that our children, our students, and we ourselves do not use a hundred percent of our human capacities. The same is true of our spiritual life. We are capable of so much more. Shouldn´t be we bold enough? Often we try to go alone in our spiritual growth. But we cannot do it by ourselves.

Have you ever seen a pack of geese flying in perfect formation? They fly in a marvelous “V” formation. They have learned by instinct and practice that they could fly more easily and at greater distances as a group. When the leader of the "V" formation gets tired from fighting the strong headwinds, it takes a break and gives way to another goose to come forward and lead the group. They make a noise, like a horn to support each other; and especially when they fly through storms, this keeps the group together.

What we smart human beings can learn from the flying of the geese? First, that working, learning, and praying in a group we can do it easily. Secondly, using leadership as a generous and alternate service makes our job more effect and helps us to share the burdens. And the third lesson we can learn is to encourage and support each other especially when some of us gets stray. In our study, at family, in spiritual growth we make progress when we fly together in “V”, that means, helping and supporting one another.

Today's readings tell us that we should be men and women of courage in our faith. The Acts of the Apostles, the first reading, tells about a man named Saul, who was first a persecutor of the Church and later became known as Paul the great apostle. Even right after his conversion to the Christian way of life he "spoke boldly in the name of the Lord." In the second reading Saint John tells us that if we keep the commandments of God, we will "receive from him whatever we ask (…) Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them" In the Gospel we find Jesus saying: "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you."

In this passage, at the Last Supper, on the night before he died, Jesus declared: “I am the vine, you are the branches,” then he translates this into a normal life of nature: “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. Without me you can do nothing.”

As baptized Christians, we have a bond with Jesus even stronger and more intimate than a mother and her little child, than two spouses, than two good friends. Jesus says: “I am the vine, you are the branches.” Many times we feel inside of us the good desire of doing something good, or becoming the person we would like to be. Only by remaining in Jesus we can become that person. “Without me you can do nothing (…) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”

If we allow the life of the true vine to enter into our souls, we could “ask for whatever we want and it will be done for us.” Our problem is that most of what we ask for is peanuts, money, a better job, safety, a new house, raise of salary, and so on. We better ask God for something really big, to become his true son or daughter. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you really want. And it will be done for you. To make sure that we understand how generous Jesus is, sharing his life with us, he tells us that if we ask for anything, our Father will give it to us because of the communion of life.

When we recognize and confess our sins, both in the sacrament of Penance and at the penitential rite of the Mass, or get reconciled with a member of our family or friend, we undergo a process of pruning. When we eat the body and drink the blood of Christ, we, branches and members of the Church, receive the nourishment that keeps us alive and growing within the life that comes from the vine which is Christ. In this way Christ produces the fruit of love and goodness through us his branches.

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