FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – 2015
« Starting with the 5th Sunday of Easter the church, through her liturgy, prepares us for the approaching celebration of the Ascension of the Lord
« The Gospels are taken from the discourses of Jesus at the Last Supper.
« Today the Gospel reminds us that Jesus has told us that with him we can do anything and, that without him we can do nothing.
« This is made clear for us in the Acts of the Apostles where the church is faithful to the word of Jesus who invites us to love one another as he has loved us.
FIRST READING – Acts 9: 26-31
- In the Acts Luke narrates some events of the first communities.
- He is not interested in giving us information about historical deeds, which were already known by the communities.
- Luke wants to invite his addressees to look these events and, reinterpret them in the light of faith and love of Jesus and, discover in them the presence of the Holy Spirit who impels them to live as Jesus lived.
- Perhaps it would help all our communities, parishes and groups within them, to look our communal history and discover in them the living presence of the Spirit, who is leading us through the events, which sometimes may seem to us unrelated to our faith and with one another.
- And not only the communities as such, but each one of us could do the same with our life as followers of Jesus and members of an ecclesial community.
« In past Sundays we have heard Peter speaking of Jesus to the Jews.
« Today Luke introduces to us Paul who has come back from Jerusalem.
« As much as he wanted to be part of the community of believers, they were afraid.
« But there is a disciple who allows the Spirit of Jesus to lead him and, tries to make real in his life the precept of “love one another as I have loved you.” And he trusts in Paul whom he met in Damascus.
« Paul continues to be the man full of passion for the cause of God. He used to persecute the new sect called the “way” because, in his heart, he believed that this group offended YHWH, the God of Israel, the only true God. Now his passion is oriented to make known Jesus, to be his witness. Jesus who encountered Saul on the way and had shown to him how much he will have to suffer for the sake of the Name.”
« He already begins to suffer the mistrust of his Christian brothers and also his Jewish brothers.
« The former do not trust in him, the others want to kill him.
« Today’s reading ends with some words which are the summary that Luke presents of the Church:
o She is in peace and this helps her
o To progress and grow in numbers
o What is the progress which Luke describes? The church progresses in the fear of the Lord, that is to say, in the loving faithfulness to her Lord, as we have heard in the reading for this Sunday. The little church, which is being born and developing, tries to live the commandment of the Lord “love one another as I have loved you.”
o As a consequence of all of this the Church enjoys the consolation of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Spirit whom he has sent to his Church.
o This consolation comes from the certainty to be, as a church, immersed in the loving presence of the Spirit thus, although as in a shadow, immersed in the life of the Trinity within the continuous exchange of love among the three Divine Persons.
Responsorial Psalm. Ps 22:26-27. 28. 30. 31-32
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!
All the ends of the earth
Shall remember and turn to the Lord
All the families of the nations
Shall bow down before him
To Him alones hall bow down
All who sleep in the earth
Before Him shall bend
All who go down into the dust
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
SECOND READING : 1 Jn 3:18-24
John invites his community to truly love and, not only speak of love.
The love we have assures us that we are dedicated to the truth. Let us remember that Scriptures speaks of God saying that God is love, God is Truth.
The consolation we have when our conscience accuses us, is that God knows us, all that is ours is known to Him.
And on the other hand, if our conscience does not accuse us, we can be sure to obtain whatever we ask for.
What does that mean? Is it something magical?
No, the answer is given to us in the next verse, it is because we keep his commandments.
Then this means that what is given to us is given as a reward for our faithfulness to the commandments?
No. If we are faithful in keeping his commandments this means that we have allowed the Spirit of the Lord to enter into our heart, the Holy Spirit that makes us like Jesus. We have the same feelings of Jesus, thus we ask only what Jesus would also ask.
GOSPEL JOHN 15: 1-8
Ø The theme of the vineyard reminds us that in the Old Testament Israel is called the “vineyard of the Lord.”
Ø Jesus says that He is the vine, he is the fullness of what Israel was called to be “the vine, the vineyard.”
Ø John describes God as the vine grower who takes good care of the vine: he takes away what is dead, prunes what is alive so that it may have abundant life.
Ø Jesus invites his own to live in Him, as He lives in us.
Ø He says that if we are not united to Him we will not give fruit.
Ø When we become disciples of Jesus and we give fruit, we glorify the Father. The image of the vine should fill us with so much trust in the Lord, whom we contemplated last week as the Good Shepherd.
Ø José A. Pagola says: The church will not be able to fulfill his mission in the world today, if those who called themselves Christians do not become disciples of Jesus, encouraged by his spirit and his passion for a more human world.
Ø Karl Rahner said that in the future to be Christian will require to be a mystic. A mystic is someone who has entered into the deep intimacy of the Shepherd, of the Teacher, allowing the sap of the vine to circulate through his/her veins thus having abundant life.
Ø All the Gospels during the Easter Season remind and invite us to enter into the intimacy of the Lord, and to find our joy in this same intimacy with Him.
God was preparing me with so many troubles to receive the great, the indescrcribable joy which had to flood my soul with the arrival of the Bull from Rome on July 16, 1855, as rapidly as I was expecting and I had told the Archbishop every time he presented me so many difficulties.
The fights and quarrels, tears and sighs that the foundation of this first house is costing me. Only God, who is pleased with the sighs of a heart distressed for his love, knows them. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 202.
These were the helpers who accompanied me in my apostolic labors amid the thorns and thistles of my diocese. I owe God endless thanks for providing me such good companions. The conduct of all of them was above reproach. They never caused me a moment's pain; on the contrary, they were all a great comfort to me. All had good dispositions and solid virtue, and they were so detached from worldly cares that they never once spoke or thought of self-interest or honors. Their only concern was for God's greater glory and the conversion of souls. Antonio María Claret, founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 606.
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
FLOR SERRANO, Gonzalo. Los Salmos en Comentario al Antiguo Testamento II. La Casa de la Biblia 1997.
PAGOLA, JOSE A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year B. Miami 2011
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía en Escritos, con Comentarios por Juan Manuel Lozano.
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras. Año B. Ediciones San Pablo. Bogotá 2005.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. Comentarios en la BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Ediciones Mensajero. China 2010