5th Sunday of Easter Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

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5th Sunday of Easter Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

First Reading: Acts 9:26-31
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32
Second Reading: 1John 3:18-24
Gospel: John 15:1-8

Theme: Be connected: Abide in Me….

Introduction

Last week we reflected on theme of the Good Shepherd. Today we move from the nomadic community to the agrarian community where Jesus describes Himself as the vine and we the branches. Life is a flux and so much is changing. Nothing indeed ever stays the same. However God is not and the forgiveness and presence of Jesus does not change that’s why today he is inviting us to abide in him.

Explanation of the text

Life is full of connections. But feeling more connected and more alive doesn’t come easy. It takes time nay practice. However with time we see beyond our “self-made” mind and open our hearts for love to flow in and out without restrictions. With this, we grow on our path and raise our consciousness to experience more beauty, more awe and joy out of living. We experience the truest nature of existence.

This is exactly the experience of Paul in our first reading. The community in Jerusalem was initially reluctant in receiving him into their fold because they didn’t know if Paul was really a disciple but it took Barnabas to convince the community and to connect him with the group in Jerusalem.

Today in our gospel reading, Jesus uses the image of the vine and its branches to describe the kind of connection that exits between himself and his disciples. The vine is the most delicate of all the plants and it is said that the branch cannot survive if it doesn’t remain attached to the vine. Thus a branch of the vine withers within seconds of being detached from the vine.

The pericope of today’s gospel reminds me of the song ‘Abide with me’, which was first written as a poem by Henry Francis Lyte 170 years ago in 1847. In his life he, like most of us I think, experienced both sorrow and joy, hardship and privilege. In one of the stanzas of this poem it reads: ” change and decay in all around I see; o thou who changest not, abide with me.”

Here are some of the things which do not change:

1. God’s existence. He holds all things together; past, present and the future. God has seen every change that will ever happen, yet he doesn’t change.
2. The love of Jesus Christ doesn’t change. He loves us unconditionally.
3. The rule of Jesus Christ is established forever.
4. The forgiveness of our sins through faith in Jesus all of our sins are forgiven for all time.

The above descriptions capture succinctly what the second reading of today reiterates in our liturgy. Let us therefore connect ourselves to the source of all sources and experience the boundless depth of His love and mercies so as to bear much and lasting fruits…

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