May 1-2: Preparing for this Weekend’s Mass

That Jesus has Risen means that He is now in His people. Of course, Jesus is present in every person in some way (“As often as you do it to one of these, the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me,” in Matthew 25), but He is present in a special way in His own disciples, that is, those who accept Him as Lord.

This weekend’s Gospel (John 15, 1-8) says that our relationship to Christ is similar to a tree (or vine) and its branches. The branch cannot be separated from the parent tree and continue to live. However, are we really “living branches” on the vine that is Jesus? Are we really believers who bear fruit? Are we living our lives creatively so that others also benefit? Can other people see the influence that Jesus has on our lives – in our words, our actions, our behavior, and our lifestyle? Are we unmistakably followers of Jesus?  How many people have come to know and believe in Jesus because of us?

From a fifth-century homily by St. Augustine: “Jesus says, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever dwells in me and I in him yields fruit in plenty, because without me you can do nothing.’ These are words to be weighed and pondered continually. Someone hearing Jesus say He yields fruit in plenty, might perhaps think that a branch can bear at least a certain amount of fruit on its own. Our Lord’s words, however, were not: ‘You can do little without me,’ but: ‘You can do nothing.’ Little fruit or plenty, there can be neither without Him, because without Him nothing can be done.”

More than our words, it is through the way we live that people will be inspired to follow our footsteps and discover what we have discovered: the joy of knowing God’s love which comes to us through Jesus and His Church.

Let us pray. “Almighty ever-living God, you constantly accomplish your purpose in and through us. Under your protective care, may we bear much fruit and come to the joys of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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