Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Acts 9:26-31 / Ps 22 / 1 Jn 3:18-24 / Jn 15:1-8
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The other day, when I noticed that the percentage of my cell phone’s battery was down to 1%, I connected it immediately to my phone charger. After about fifteen minutes, I checked it, and I noticed that the battery was totally discharged. The phone was dead. Since my cell phone is more than five years old, this got me concerned. So I consulted the tech support that I know will give me a quick answer: my good friend, Google.
When I typed in the phrase, “My phone won’t charge,” it gave me a few possible reasons, one of which was, “Your charging accessory is defective or damaged.” So I checked my USB cable and discovered that my phone charger was not plugged into the outlet. So that was the problem.
Many people nowadays are as normal and healthy as all of us here, and yet everything seems to be going wrong in their lives. In the gospel, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Without Me, you can do nothing.” Jesus, Our Lord and our God, is the source of life. He is the source of all our hope.
Kathy Smolka, an 8-year-old student at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Richmond, wrote an essay for the Knights of Columbus which will give us an example of the positive result of being connected to the Lord God in times of trials and difficulties. Here are a few lines from the essay she wrote:
“A little less than a year ago, my uncle, who was also my godfather, passed away. More recently, in September, my grandmother contracted coronavirus and passed away as well. I loved them both so much, and it was extremely hard for my family and me to lose them. Through my family’s support and lots of praying I was able to find strength and hope.
“While I still don’t have a full understanding of why these things have to happen, I have realized several things that make it a little easier to cope. Firstly, I am so grateful for the beautiful memories I have made with my uncle and grandmother. Second, I know they were in a lot of pain when they were in the hospital. But now they are in heaven, happy and rid of suffering. Lastly, I believe that they are guiding and watching over me and that one day I will see them again. Trusting in God made the situation a little less painful.”
Then, toward the end of her essay, she wrote, “I found hope in the Mass, in the sacraments, as well as my personal prayers. I learned that listening to God is the only way to find hope.”
Those are very inspiring words indeed, coming from an 8-year-old. They are reflections of what we have just heard in today’s gospel, where Jesus said, “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own, unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”