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 5th Sunday of Easter – Cycle B

April 28th, 2013

 

I Am the Vine, You are the Branches

 



 
 
 
“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad.” Proverbs 12:25

 

Reading 1
Acts 9:26-31

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples,
but they were all afraid of him,
not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles,
and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord,
and that he had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem,
and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this,
they took him down to Caesarea
and sent him on his way to Tarsus.
The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers
 

 Responsorial Psalm
Ps 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32

R. (26a) I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your hearts live forever!"
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

Reading II
1 Jn 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.


Gospel
Jn 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

 

       

 

 

  I can remember on more than on occasion on visits to the farm where my wife Joyce’s mom and dad lived. I want to take you back there with me for a moment and just describe what it was like for me. Just close your eyes and relax and enjoy.

It’s a summer evening. All is quiet. I am standing in front of a beautiful and very calm lake. The air is fresh and I can sense the smell of freshly cut hay in the nearby fields. The sun is slowly fading beyond the horizon, breathing forth on all of nature the color of golden red. I look out over the water. Now a gentle breeze graces my face. Suddenly everything seems to fall away – the trees in the distance, that golden red sunset, the lake, and the fresh country air. It is as if everything is streaming into me (or is it out of me?) and I feel one with it all; one with all of nature, with everything around me, one with every person, and most especially one with God.

Have you ever had this kind of experience? Perhaps you were listening to some music, country, jazz, Christian, classic rock, shopping mall music. And suddenly you are taken up in it all; you become one with the music. The sound of the piano, the trumpet, the steel guitar, the saxophone, the violin – takes you out of yourself, and there is the feeling that you belong to the whole of the universe, and the universe is in you.

Or, perhaps you’ve had the experience of just sitting at home, knitting with your yarn on your lap, or you are doing the laundry or just sitting by the fireplace on a cold winter’s night, or watching a little baby laughing and reaching with it’s hands to touch your face. Again, it comes; a sense of great contentment, a great sense of belonging to the earth, the water, the sky, the sun, the moon, the plants and the animals, your family; all those you know and even those you don’t.

Don’t we carry in us these kinds of human feelings? Isn’t that why we like to read a good book, watch a good movie, go to a ballgame, or just get together with other folks to sing or tell a joke, or to be immersed in conversation?

Today, Jesus tells us that he had those kinds of experiences also. Today, Jesus tells how he feels connected with us, as a vine is connected to the branches, the leaves, the flowers, and the fruit of that vine.

Today, he tells us that we have our home in him, as he has his home in us. The difference is that for him, all of this was no vision that passed after some moments of insight and enlightenment. For him, it was not only a vision that passed. It was and is the life he lived, and continues to live in us always. It is the life that he wants us to realize and to live all the time, forever and ever.

Our experiences of those moments are right. We belong together! He is with us and we are with him. He is the vine that feeds the branches. And we must take care that neither drought nor frost will kill those branches which are we. We must not let ourselves wither from the vine, for we must bear good fruit, the kind of fruit that is his love living in each of us and lived by each of us. Oh, we many tend to dry a bit now and then, but clinging still to him, we can and will produce good fruit. For when Christ comes, he will look to see of we the branches have been fruitful in faith, worship, and service to him, by being that to each other, believers or non-believers. As we continue to journey this gift of life that will take us to his eternal kingdom, let us pray that we may be faithful to that call!
Despite all the adversity that we may face, let us remain faithful to that commitment!

Thank you and God bless!

(C) Deacon Steve A. Politte

April 28th, 2013 (revised)

 

 

 

I Am the Vine - HeartofChrist 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Mighty Conqueror - by Arvil Jones
 


To all of us who know Him there is no greater Name
Yes we know His Identity and the Place from whence He came


From the Glory of that Heavenly Realm to a sin-cursed world below
There came The Mighty Conqueror, His Sovereign Power to show


The world only saw Him as a lowly carpenter’s son
In spite of all the mighty works and Miracles He’d done


But as His fame began to spread throughout all Galilee
Men began to ask each other, “Who might this Man be”


There were only a few who recognized Him both as God and Man
And others who refused to believe ‘Til they saw His nail-pierced Hand


He said it was His Father Whom He came to reveal
And there was Something in this Man that flesh could not conceal


Each mighty work that He performed revealed His Father’s Love
Then slowly men began to ask- “Is this Man from Above”


But it’s been said there’s none so blind as those who refuse to see
And some would not be satisfied ‘til they nailed Him to a Tree


They watched Him die in agony and spat in the Face of God
A Man who had done naught but Good while here on Earth He trod


In a borrowed tomb three days and nights His wounded Body lay
While Heaven and Earth awaited the dawning of the Day


And on that Appointed Morning our God the Victory gave
The Mighty Conqueror arose with Power over Death, Hell, and the Grave.


© Arvil Jones


 

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