Sunday, April 28, 2024

Reflection: Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B

The readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B, offer a profound reflection on the themes of transformation, community, and love. The first reading from Acts 9:26-31 recounts the transformative journey of Saul, who, after his encounter with the Lord, seeks to join the disciples in Jerusalem. Despite their initial fear and disbelief, Saul is eventually embraced by the community, illustrating the power of forgiveness and the importance of community in the Christian life.  Saul today is the atheist, agnostic of those who fell away from the Church who persecute her and Jesus. Like Jesus said on the cross, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." People who attack the Church are often ignorant of her.  They attack what they do not understand like Saul did. God's grace eventually wins and softens the hardest of hearts. 

The responsorial psalm, Ps 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32, echoes this sentiment of the community as it invites all to praise the Lord in the assembly of the people. It speaks to the inclusivity of God's love, reaching out to "all the ends of the earth" and promising life and service to future generations.

In the second reading, 1 John 3:18-24, the focus shifts to the nature of love — not as mere words or speech but as action and truth. This passage challenges believers to live out the commandments of God through genuine acts of love, thereby remaining in Him, as He remains in us through the Spirit.

The Gospel of John 15:1-8 presents the metaphor of the true vine, with Jesus as the vine and believers as the branches. It emphasizes the importance of remaining in Jesus to bear fruit, and it serves as a reminder of the nurturing relationship between God and His people and the pruning process that leads to greater spiritual growth. We are nothing without Jesus.  Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Without the vine, there are no branches. This is why in this period of Eucharistic revival, we must remember who is the Church composed of and of whose body.  We are the branches that make up the Catholic Church, but Jesus' body is the Church.  We cannot do anything without Jesus.

These readings collectively underscore the essence of the Christian experience: a life marked by transformation, sustained by community, and expressed through love. They invite reflection on one's personal journey of faith, the role of community in that journey, and the expression of faith through love in action. As we meditate on these readings, we are called to consider how we are being pruned and nourished by our relationship with Christ, and how we can bear fruit in the world around us. 

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