May 05, 2012
Anticipated Sunday Mass (Fifth Sunday of Easter)
by Rev. Fr. Stephen Mifsud (MSSP – Quezon City)
MSSP House / Mass for the poor
First Reading: Acts 9:26-31
Psalm: Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32
Second Reading: 1 John 3:18-24
Gospel: John 15:1-8
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
Which is the verb/word most used today? “Manatili” remain, abide, come to stay, live...
Stay attached to Me says Jesus. Like a branch attached to the tree. Branch takes its energy form the trunk and can stay alive only if it remains attached to the tree.
If you cut a branch will it die immediately... no! but eventually it will die and dry. Our life is the same. Sometimes we say... “I can live without God”, “I am too busy for Him”, “I don’t need Him”. Yes for some short time I can still live but eventually you will be condemning yourself, cutting yourself from the source of life and you start to dry towards a slow death... a spiritual death leading to sadness, desperation, depression, helplessness, quarrels and destruction of peace in your heart and with everyone.
Jesus says today “remain in me”. 8 times he says it: this shows how important it is.
Why remain in Jesus? – to bear fruit ... to have meaning in your life. What is the use of a vine that does not produce grapes? Its useless. To have meaning in life I have to be like a tree with fruit. What are the fruits of a Christian? St Paul to the Galatians tells us what are these fruits... as I mention them try to check whether they are present in your heart and in your life.
Gal 5:22-23 Ang bunga naman ng espiritu ay: pag-ibig (love), tuwa(joy), kapayapaan(peace), pagtitiis (endurance) , kagandahang-loob(kindness), kabutihan (goodness) , pagtitiwala (faithfulness), kahinahunan(gentleness) , pagtitimpi (self-control).
If I have all of these means that I am attached to Jesus completely... if some are not there means that I have to strengthen my bond and my faith in Jesu.
How to remain in Jesus? Malinaw ang sagot ! Sinabi ngayon sa unang sulat ni Apostol San Juan, “ang sumusunod sa mga utos ng Diyos ay nananatili sa Diyos. Ito ang kanyang utos: manalig tayo sa kanyang Anak na si Hesukristo, at mag-ibigan.”
The two are very important. Some Protestants go around saying that you are saved only by faith. Its true we are saved by faith but faith has to be accompanied by actions of love. We are saved, truly, but we have to remain with him.
I am baptised, I am saved but i need to remain with Jesus. Its not enough to say I believe in Jesus Christ but to also i need to do what he commands.
It’s good today to ask ourselves:
- How much do I believe that God saves me?
- How much I believe in Jesus... that he is with me in my difficulties and sufferings?
- How much do I practice love in my family, how much do I forgive those who wrong me, how much do I look at the needs of others before my own needs?
My last point is: the gardener prunes the tree to make more fruit. Five times we are told to bear fruit. Every knows the value and necessity of pruning. The hard work of cutting away what is dead, unwanted, or overgrown is rewarded by new growth and more fruit.
My last question is what things need to be cut from my life so that I might have more fruit, more love, more patience, and more joy? What attitudes, what thoughts, what plans, what sins need to be cut to be stronger and bear more fruit?