Bulletin: May 2, 2021
Fifth Sunday of Easter
In today’s Gospel, Jesus likens our relationship with him to a plant with many branches. We, the branches, are called to remain so close to Jesus that we bear fruit, loving one another as Christ loves us. Saul bore the fruit of his faith through powerful witness that drew others to Christ. And the branches that grew into the early Church were extraordinarily fruitful. What is the fruit of your faith in Jesus Christ?
VINES, BRANCHES, AND FRUIT
Few activities are as disappointing as cultivating garden plants, watering them, and ensuring that they receive sunlight and nutrients, only to receive one or two vegetables or flowers to show for all the effort. Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine and branches to describe how closely we are called to remain with him—so close that we bear the fruit of his life and love in the way we live. When we do this, Jesus says, we give glory to God the Father, which Jesus did perfectly through his life, passion, death, and resurrection. Like plants that rely on the sun and nutrients from the soil, we rely on the Lord Jesus through whom we can do all for which we are called. Without the Lord, we can do nothing.
LEARN FROM THE FIRST ONES
The story of the early Church that we hear from the Acts of the Apostles during the Easter season is instructive and inspiring. We learn how the community grew in their understanding of what it means to remain close to Jesus in the most challenging of situations. They lived in word and deed as Christ had taught and bore the fruit of their faith in their daily decisions, in small ways and in dramatic moments. Faced with Saul who had persecuted Christians and who presented himself as a disciple, Barnabas risked believing Saul’s testimony. Through Barnabas, the community accepted Saul, with increasing numbers of people being led to belief in Christ as a result. We too are called to live in word and deed, taking to heart Christ’s command to love one another, even when it is challenging to do so. We may find inspiration in the way the early believers drew consolation from the Holy Spirit, finding wisdom and strength to keep the commandments and do what pleases God.