The readings today are about: Call – Transformation – Action – and Fruition. Each coming from graces flowing from the Resurrection.
In the Gospel allegory of the Vine and the Branches, God the Father is the Vine Grower. He Calls us to join with his Son, Jesus, who is the Vine, to proclaim the Good News. However, we, the Branches, need to be “pruned” now and then in order that our actions might be fruitful. Our relationship to Jesus is an intimate and personal one: he abides in us and we in him. It is a friendship.
Author, Fr. Michael Casey, puts it this way: “The essence of Christian religion is our being grafted into Christ, allowing the true vine’s energizing sap to circulate through our veins so that all our thoughts, words, and deeds are progressively upgraded, and we become more Christlike.”
Call – Transformation – Action – Fruition
St. Paul and the other early Christians experienced God’s saving help in their ministries. In the First Reading we hear how the Holy Spirit motivated and helped the converted (transformed) Paul to boldly present the message of the Resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem in spite of the danger involved. As a result, “the early church grew in numbers.”
How have you experienced the kind of inner transformation that enabled you to speak “boldly” about God and about the values of the Gospel? – at work, in school, some other social setting: for example, standing up for someone who is being bullied or promoting equal opportunity for everyone
regardless of color or culture, promoting a culture of life or saying “no” to hateful speech especially against Asian Americans and so forth.
In the Second Reading, St. John, encourages us to live our faith by acting on it: “Children,” he writes, “let us love not in word and speech (alone) but in deed and truth.” He also reminds us that in those times when our courage is faltering we have only to ask God for help.
When I realized that God was inviting me to move from San Diego, where I had lived for 16 years, to an Indian Reservation in Southern Alberta Canada I knew that I needed an extra “dose” of generosity and courage. As I began my annual 8-day retreat that year those were the virtues I prayed for. And that is what I received – which enabled me to go.
So, we pray.
Help us, Lord, to hear Your Voice
when You call us to witness to
Your love and peace.
Give us the courage to undergo
whatever “pruning” we need
to do what You wish of us.
We ask this in Jesus’ Name.
Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.
May 2, 2021