5th Sunday of Easter (Year B) – 29th April 2018

Theme: IT IS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT GOD DWELLS IN US AND WE DWELL IN GOD AND THAT WE BEAR FRUIT IN PLENTY

  • Acts 9:26-31;
  • Psalm 21:26-28. 30-32. R/ v. 26;
  • 1 John 3:18-24
  • John 15:1-8

Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter. Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that God dwells in us and we dwell in God and that we bear much fruit. It is through the Holy Spirit that we love God and love our neighbor. It is through the Holy Spirit that we proclaim the good news even in the face of persecution and death. It is through the Holy Sprit that we praise and worship God. The readings today are to be read in the light of Easter, that is, in the light of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
The gospel today tells us that it is through the Holy Spirit that God dwells in us and we dwell in God and that we will bear much fruit. Cut off from God we will not bear fruit, we will die. Thus we read in the gospel today:
“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.’” (Jn 15:4-6)
The gospel today touches me personally because it tells me that our God is a God of mutual indwelling (God dwells in us and we dwell in God), that is, our God is a God of personal relationship, community, love, unity, mutuality, communion, intimacy, etc. Our God is a God of BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) because it is in the BEC that we experience intimacy, mutuality, communion, love, unity, personal relationship, community, fellowship, sharing, etc. with God and with one another in a personal, spiritual and real way. That is why our Bishop asks us to build BECs!

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that it is through the Holy Spirit that God dwells in us and we dwell in God and that it is through the Holy Spirit that we love God and love our neighbor. Thus we read in the second reading:
“Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him. We know that he lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us.” (1 Jn 3: 24)
“His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he told us to.” (1 Jn 3: 23)
For John to believe in God is to love God, and to love God is to believe in God. (NJBC/Mk 12:28-31/Faley/Jn 16:27)
Without the Holy Spirit we cannot even keep the Ten Commandments, but with the Holy Spirit we can even keep “the greatest commandment of all”, that is, to love God and to love our neighbor! We have to read the readings today in the light of Easter, that is, in the light of Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Only then can we proclaim the good news!

The first reading tells us that it is through the Holy Spirit that Paul and the Apostles preached the good news in Jerusalem even in the face of persecution and death. Thus we read in the first reading:
“Saul now started to go around with them (the apostles) in Jerusalem, preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord. But after he had spoken to the Hellenists (Greek speaking Jews), and argued with them, they became determined to kill him. When the brothers knew, they took him to Caesarea, and sent him off from there to Tarsus.” (Ac 9:28-30)
Paul was ultimately beheaded as his Master Jesus Christ was crucified for proclaiming the good news! We started the “Neocatechumenal Way” in our parish to produce priests and itinerant catechists to proclaim the good news to the nations even in the face of persecution and death!

Finally, it is through the Holy Spirit that we praise and worship God! The responsorial psalm is a call to praise God. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a call to the community to praise God. (Ps 21 (22): 26-27) The second stanza is a call to all the nations to praise God. (Ps 21 (22): 28. 30) And the third stanza is a call to the future generations to praise God. (Ps 21 (22): 31-32) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.” (Ps 21 (22): 26)

Today in the Eucharist we celebrate Easter, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that the Risen Lord dwells in us and we in him and that we bear fruit in plenty. Fruits of the Spirit: love, peace, joy, forgiveness, freedom, salvation, etc. It is through the Holy Spirit that we love God and neighbor. It is through the Holy Spirit that we proclaim the good news even in the face of persecution and death. It is through the Holy Spirit that we praise and worship God. Amen.

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