Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Acts 9:26-31 / Ps 22 / 1 Jn 3:18-24 / Jn 15:1-8
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The Lord Jesus was a master communicator. He could present something that is full of mystery in a way that even a little child in those times could understand.
In the gospel that we have just heard, when the Lord Jesus was telling His disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches,” they must have been walking in the vineyard and seeing the vines all around them, hanging heavy with ripe fruit.
Understanding these words of Our Lord is not rocket science. Plain common sense tells us that a branch can’t remain alive just by itself, let alone bear fruit.
In the chapter before these passages, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The disciples must have understood that, just as the branches rely on the vine as the source of life, we also should depend on Jesus to give us life in this world and for all eternity in heaven.
The gospel of John tells us that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it in all its fullness. However, disobeying God’s commandments can cut off the flow of life coming from God toward us. That is why, after Our Lord’s resurrection, He instituted the sacrament of confession. We cannot repair the damage caused by sin, but Jesus can.
In the second reading, which is taken from the first letter of St. John, the apostle gave us the formula on how we can remain connected to the Lord Jesus, like a branch to the vine. And it is as simple as following God’s will. St. John said, “God’s commandment is this: We should believe in His son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us.”
It goes without saying that we should always pray, because it is our wireless connection to God. If St. John and the rest of the apostles were alive today, knowing that we are now living in a wireless world, they would probably use the wifi and cellular data analogy.
We are all aware of the fact that free wifi is available everywhere: in fast foods, cafes, bus and train stations, hotels, schools, hospitals, homes, and even here at Holy Name of Mary. Last November, when I visited my mom in the Philippines, I learned that Philippine Airlines even offers free wifi on international flights, including on my twenty-four hour flight.
This tells us that we can now communicate with our family and friends through social media wherever we are, even if we are thirty thousand feet above sea level.
But we don’t need wifi, cellular data, smartphones, iPads, laptops, tablets, and other communication devices to communicate wirelessly with God. All we have to do is live in a state of grace and lift our hearts and minds to Him in prayer.
Let’s listen again to what Jesus promised us in today’s gospel: “If you remain in Me, ask for whatever you want, and it will be done for you.”